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A scoping review to determine themes that represent perceptions of self as mother (‘ideal mother’ vs ‘real mother’)

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Background: Postnatal depression (PND) is a key cause of maternal morbidity, with current systems of initial recognition in the UK detecting only 50% of cases. In attempts to predict those potentially at risk, this review suggests a novel approach.

Aim: Implementing the concept of ‘ideal mother’ versus ‘real mother’, and asking the woman to compare their ‘ideal self’ against ‘existent self’, the aim of this instrument development review was to determine themes from the literature that relate to women’s perceptions of self as a mother, and from this identification develop questions for inclusion within a proposed new measure entitled the Self-Image as Mother Scale (SIMS).

Method: A scoping review of the literature was carried out to identify themes considered to affect perception of self as mother, and from this identification, evidence-based questions for inclusion in the SIMS were developed.

Findings: Themes identified included (1) marital dissatisfaction, (2) inadequate partner support, (3) lack of family support, (4) socioeconomic status and associated poverty, (5) concern about infant, (6) antenatal/postnatal complications, (7) acceptance of infant gender, (8) history of mental health problems, (9) unplanned pregnancy.

Conclusions: From this scoping review 18 questions were developed for inclusion in the SIMS, which will then be evaluated for psychometric properties, scale refinement and validation.
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Keywords: ASAP; Midwives; Self-Image as Mother Scale (SIMS); ideal self; perinatal mental illness; postnatal depression; predictors; real self

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Maternal Health, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Care, Edinburgh Napier University (ENU), Sighthill Campus, Edinburgh, UK 2: School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Care, Edinburgh Napier University (ENU), Sighthill Campus, Edinburgh, UK 3: Perinatal Mental Health, Institute for Clinical and Applied Health Research (ICAHR), University of Hull, Hull, UK

Publication date: May 27, 2019

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