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Title: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of fathers' experiences of emotional distress and help-seeking in the postnatal period
Author: Kendall, Megan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2713 1123
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2011
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Method: Seven men who identified themselves as having experienced emotional distress postnatally were interviewed and their transcripts analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Results: Data analysis led to the development of four superordinate themes: 1) Accounts of emotional distress and coping; 2) Accounts of help-seeking and social support; 3) Experiences of changing relationships; 4) An evolving identity. Conclusions: Participants’ described efforts to control emotional distress through denial and compartmentalisation of their feelings. Their attempts to negotiate societal and personal expectations for increased parental involvement were contradicted by the necessity of work and lack of paternity leave. Fathers described feeling sidelined by professional services and this was echoed in their perceptions of the shifting hierarchies within the family, with the mother perceived as dominant and her childbearing experiences positioning her as undeniably different. This left some fathers feeling powerless and frustrated. Those fathers describing more proactive help-seeking and better social support seemed to cope better postnatally. Couple conflict was evident, as were emotional difficulties within partners, indicating a stressed family system. Possible consequences of this for their child or children were discussed. The findings indicate a need for adaptations to professional services to be more father-inclusive, as well as improved detection and treatment of postnatally distressed men and families.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available