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Title: Foetal congenital anomaly diagnoses and maternal mental health
Author: Halpin, Lisa
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 0481
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2017
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Pregnancy is a time of physiological and psychosocial change for women, and can be a stressful life event (Hodgkinson, Smith & Wittkowski, 2014). Therefore, for some women, pregnancy can exacerbate existing psychological distress (e.g. depression, anxiety and/or stress), or contribute to its development (Biaggi, Conroy, Pawlby & Pariante, 2016). Although there are many reasons why some women experience psychological distress during pregnancy (e.g. lack of social support; Biaggi et al., 2016), this thesis is concerned with the impact of foetal congenital anomaly diagnosis on maternal mental health. Specifically, congenital heart disease (CHD) and cleft lip and/or palate (CL/P). The original focus of the thesis was planned to be exclusively on prenatal CL/P diagnosis, however it was deemed unfeasible to conduct a systematic review in this area due to a lack of relevant quantitative research. CHD was therefore chosen as it is a commonly diagnosed congenital anomaly with sufficient literature available to conduct a systematic review. Chapter one of this thesis therefore aims to critically review, and synthesise the available literature to gain an understanding of whether prenatal CHD diagnosis is associated with maternal mental health difficulties. Clinical implications and directions for future research are considered. The empirical paper presented in chapter two of this thesis focusses on the impact of prenatal CL/P diagnosis on maternal mental health and its associations with antenatal attachment (AA), mindfulness and self-compassion (SC). AA was selected as a variable of interest due to associations between psychological distress in pregnancy and reduced maternal-foetal attachment (Alhusen, 2008; Rubertsson, Pallant, Sydsjo, Haines & Hildingsson, 2015). Furthermore, identifying factors that might contribute to the promotion of increased AA and optimal mental health in pregnancy is therefore important. Mindfulness and SC are two such factors which are increasingly demonstrating their efficacy as concepts related to reducing psychological distress and enhancing AA in pregnant women (Dunn, Hanich, Roberts & Powrie, 2012; Matvienko-Silkar, Lee, Murphy & Murphy, 2016; Mohamadirizi & Kordi, 2016). The empirical paper provides an overview of relevant research, a description of the methods used to address the research question, followed by a discussion of the results. Implications for antenatal services and directions for future research are provided.
Supervisor: Van Vuuren, J. ; White, R. ; Edwards, Z. ; Mumford, R. ; Taylor, P. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral