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Title: Mothers' and fathers' distress following childbirth : a discursive interactional perspective
Author: Cook, Melissa
ISNI:       0000 0004 2697 6132
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2000
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This study examines mother's and father's accounts of their experiences during the post-natal period in an attempt to understand distress following childbirth within an interactional framework. Four couples were recruited through the Meet-A-Mum Association and through professional contacts. All the mothers had been given a diagnosis of post-natal depression by their GPs. The fathers all reported experiencing distress since the birth of their child and one had been given a diagnosis of depression by their GP. Each couple was interviewed using a semi-structured interview format, first together and then separately. The participants' accounts were analysed using a discourse analytic approach. The women's varied experiences of distress were labelled by professionals as post-natal depression and explained within a biomedical framework which precluded the consideration of alternative social, psychological or political explanations. However, the women were able to identify a number of alternative explanations for their difficulties. This, together with the finding that the fathers experienced similar distress during the post-natal period, suggests that the bio-medical model of distress following childbirth is too simplistic. Undermining discursive practices and negative cycles of interaction, operating within the parental relationship, were identified in the participants' accounts and implicated as significant factors in the development and maintenance of both the mothers' and fathers' distress. The effects of the dominant constructions of parenthood, depression, masculinity, and femininity on the participants' identity and experiences are analysed. Lastly, the implications of the findings for future research and clinical practice are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available