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Title: Paternal posttraumatic stress following childbirth : towards a theoretical model
Author: Bristow, Florence
ISNI:       0000 0004 8499 1330
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2016
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Previous research has established that fathers can develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following witnessing their partner's labour and birth. This study aimed to develop a model of fathers' experiences of trauma following childbirth to identify factors contributing to the experience being perceived as traumatic and understand how fathers experience trauma symptoms in the postnatal period. A qualitative approach was adopted, using grounded theory methodology to explore first-time fathers' experiences of witnessing a subjectively identified traumatic labour and/or childbirth. Ten UKbased fathers were interviewed individually. Fathers either reported full symptoms of PTSD (n = 1), partial or clinically significant symptoms (n = 4), or met criteria for the experience being traumatic but had no symptoms of PTSD (n = 5). The emergent model consisted of six interacting theoretical codes highlighting antenatal, peri-traumatic (during labour and birth) and postnatal processes involved in the development and maintenance of paternal trauma following childbirth. Despite some similarities between the emergent theory and existing theories of PTSD and maternal PTSD following childbirth, comparisons between these models indicate factors that may be unique to the paternal experience. These include fathers' perceived responsibility to protect and support their partner and baby, the influence of partner emotions, shock when attempting to reconcile expectations and reality, the desire for information, preparation and support throughout the experience, and systemic factors and maladaptive coping strategies which act as barriers to fathers being able to process their experience in the postnatal period. The emergent model highlights important areas for development in clinical practice at various stages of the maternity process and could inform formulation and treatment of fathers experiencing trauma following childbirth.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available