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The journey towards resilience following a traumatic birth: a grounded theory

Brown, A. (2018). The journey towards resilience following a traumatic birth: a grounded theory. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Statistics have shown that 30% of women in the UK experience childbirth as traumatising, and some may as a consequence go on to experience symptoms of anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, some women do not go on to develop PTSD. As this is a relatively common occurrence, an important question is: How do women who experience a difficult birth develop resilience? Research has mainly focused on the development of PTSD in such women and researchers have therefore recently tried to shift the focus to positive outcomes following a traumatic birth. The focus of positive outcomes has mainly been around post-traumatic growth and researchers have called for more investigations into the area of resilience. At present, research is still sparse in the area of traumatic birth and resilience. Objectives: The aim of this study was to understand the process of fostering resilience after a traumatic birth. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight female participants aged 30 to 50 years who experienced a traumatic childbirth. A constructivist grounded theory was used to analyse interviews. Results: A new model of the process of resilience following a traumatic birth was devised, which emerged from the data. The core category of ‘The Journey towards Resilience following a Traumatic Birth’ was described and connected to the five following categories: Category 1: Traumatic birth: To be cared for ‒ who’s accountable?; Category 2: Moving towards faith and spirituality; Category 3: Motherhood becomes you; Category 4: Supportive relationships; Category 5: Self-care ‒ as a way of owning my journey. Discussion: The model suggests that the journey towards resilience is a process whereby women move towards internal or external resources or both at different points on their journey. This study brings new findings to the area of traumatic birth and resilience which will help guide counselling psychologists and health professionals on how to promote resilience in birthing mothers.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
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