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Couples experiences of postnatal anxiety: A thematic analysis approach

Delgado Torres, C. (2021). Couples experiences of postnatal anxiety: A thematic analysis approach. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Objective: Investigate heterosexual couples experience of postnatal anxiety. Background: Perinatal mental health has become a matter of public health priority in the United Kingdom. Postnatal anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues parents face after having a baby. However, little is known about how parents experience anxiety after having a baby, and existing research has focused mostly on mothers or postnatal depression. Methods: Nine heterosexual couples were interviewed. The resulting data was analysed using thematic analysis. Themes were developed around the couple's experience of postnatal anxiety. Results: This research has found that couples who experience postnatal anxiety feel that the impact of their difficulties affects the system. This means that both partners struggle with their mental health, that they use self-regulatory efforts as a couple and that they think about the impact of their mental health on their baby and in their bond with their baby. It was found that couples who experienced postnatal anxiety felt that their mental health brings an extra set of difficulties and this leads to a difference between their expectations and their reality that causes them distress. Another finding was that couples modified their behaviour in order to manage their postnatal anxiety. Lastly, the COVID pandemic affected the couples and therefore had an impact on their experience of postnatal anxiety. Conclusion: This work contributed to an important gap in the literature about postnatal anxiety and couples’ experience of postnatal anxiety. This study has identified areas for future research to explore and develop.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
Text - Accepted Version
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