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Title: What does it mean for a woman to be diagnosed with postnatal depression?
Author: Roddam, Lisa A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 9883
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2016
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The research question “What does it mean for a woman to be diagnosed with postnatal depression?” indicates three main overlapping areas of investigation: women, including issues of gender, discourses around womanhood and the roles and expectations being a woman carries; diagnosis, which is the categorising of experiences deemed to be outside of what is considered normal and includes discourses around mental health and mental illness; and mothers, including expectations of mothers and motherhood. All of these areas interlink and are arguably socially and culturally specific. There is also an underlying concept of identity as a woman, a mother and a mentally ill person, both separately and as an intersection of the three. It is therefore an important area of investigation within counselling psychology, a discipline that concerns itself with subjective experience and is therefore well placed to interrogate the process of medicalised diagnoses. The social and cultural influence also suggests Charmaz’s constructivist grounded theory as the appropriate method as it uses ideas of social constructionism. In this study semistructured interviews were carried out with eight women who believed they had been given a diagnosis of postnatal depression. They were asked about the circumstances leading up to their diagnosis and what they felt the impact was. These interviews were transcribed and analysed using a Grounded Theory methodology (Charmaz, e.g. 2006). A theory of how women view their experience of being diagnosed with postnatal depression, as well as how social factors influence the way the women make sense of this experience, is proposed. This theory takes the form of a process in which women described a dissonance between their expectations of motherhood and their lived experience. They understood this as a lack in themselves and as a result hid their struggles to a point at which they felt they could no longer avoid seeking professional help. The subsequent diagnosis of postnatal depression led to an opening of a dialogue around the difficulties they were experiencing as well as options of possible treatments. The implications of this process are discussed.
Supervisor: Dubowski, Janek ; Moon, Lyndsey Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Post natal depression