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Title: An investigation into the role of social support and cognitions in post-traumatic stress disorder following childbirth
Author: O'Brien, Ciara
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2010
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Objective: To explore the relationship between cognitions, perceived levels of social support and PTSD symptoms in women following childbirth. Setting: The research was carried out in the postnatal midwifery department of a large teaching hospital. Participants: 43 women completed questionnaire measures 6 weeks after childbirth. Participants reported a wide range of PTSD symptoms. Measures: These included the Impact of Event Scale, Posttraumatic Cognitions Index, Significant Others Scale and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale as well as questionnaires about demographic and obstetric factors. Results: In this sample levels of negative cognitions were related to PTSD symptoms, with symptoms worsening as cognitions become more negative. Higher satisfaction with social support was not, however, found to be related with lower PTSD symptoms. Parity, levels of preparedness, pain, control and fear were all also found to be related to PTSD symptoms. High levels of comorbidity were noted between PTSD and postnatal depression in this sample with 80% of women who had clinically significant PTSD symptoms also scoring in the clinical range for postnatal depression symptoms. Conclusions: The finding that social support is not directly related to PTSD symptoms, but does have an impact of levels of negative cognitions, which in turn are related to PTSD symptoms is broadly in-keeping with a psychosocial model of PTSD suggested by Williams & Joseph (1999). This research also points to the potential utility of cognitive interventions within this population.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available