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Mothers’ decision-making during times of stress as a lone parent: a qualitative study

Mothers’ decision-making during times of stress as a lone parent: a qualitative study
Mothers’ decision-making during times of stress as a lone parent: a qualitative study
Introduction: Little empirical evidence exists to identify the impact that a partner's absence or presence has on the mother's decision-making and her consequential help-seeking behaviour when her child is unwell.

Methods: This study used a qualitative design in three phases using focus groups and interviews to explore Army mothers’ help-seeking behaviour as a lone parent when their child was unwell during the out-of-hours period. Thirty-one parents from a British Army garrison were interviewed.

Results: The findings demonstrated that Army life created a combination of stressors for Army mothers, which altered their help-seeking behaviour when their child was unwell. When their partner was available, mothers contacted health services as a last resort, once all other avenues had been exhausted. However, in contrast, in their partners’ absence, they were contacted as a first resort.

Conclusion: An algorithm was generated from the findings, which illustrates the importance of ascertaining whether the mother is alone at the time of the consultation. Increased emotional vulnerability intensified the need for reassurance and affected a mother's decision-making ability. Primary healthcare staff should ascertain whether mothers are currently lone parents at an early stage of their assessment, as this may influence the entire consultation.
0035-8665
Bernthal, Elizabeth M.M.
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Lathlean, J.
98a74375-c265-47d2-b75b-5f0f3e14c1a9
Gobbi, M.
829a5669-2d52-44ef-be96-bc57bf20bea0
Simpson, R.G.
b443a0b5-0ac6-4af8-b7b2-866d300ce728
Bernthal, Elizabeth M.M.
610f0fe3-8620-4fae-9395-794d677e5acc
Lathlean, J.
98a74375-c265-47d2-b75b-5f0f3e14c1a9
Gobbi, M.
829a5669-2d52-44ef-be96-bc57bf20bea0
Simpson, R.G.
b443a0b5-0ac6-4af8-b7b2-866d300ce728

Bernthal, Elizabeth M.M., Lathlean, J., Gobbi, M. and Simpson, R.G. (2015) Mothers’ decision-making during times of stress as a lone parent: a qualitative study. Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps. (doi:10.1136/jramc-2015-000526). (PMID:26419524)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Introduction: Little empirical evidence exists to identify the impact that a partner's absence or presence has on the mother's decision-making and her consequential help-seeking behaviour when her child is unwell.

Methods: This study used a qualitative design in three phases using focus groups and interviews to explore Army mothers’ help-seeking behaviour as a lone parent when their child was unwell during the out-of-hours period. Thirty-one parents from a British Army garrison were interviewed.

Results: The findings demonstrated that Army life created a combination of stressors for Army mothers, which altered their help-seeking behaviour when their child was unwell. When their partner was available, mothers contacted health services as a last resort, once all other avenues had been exhausted. However, in contrast, in their partners’ absence, they were contacted as a first resort.

Conclusion: An algorithm was generated from the findings, which illustrates the importance of ascertaining whether the mother is alone at the time of the consultation. Increased emotional vulnerability intensified the need for reassurance and affected a mother's decision-making ability. Primary healthcare staff should ascertain whether mothers are currently lone parents at an early stage of their assessment, as this may influence the entire consultation.

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Accepted/In Press date: 30 July 2015
e-pub ahead of print date: 29 September 2015
Published date: 29 September 2015
Organisations: Faculty of Health Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 382650
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/382650
ISSN: 0035-8665
PURE UUID: 39c1456a-aacb-49ae-84ad-b76108928fb7

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Date deposited: 28 Oct 2015 09:45
Last modified: 06 Jul 2018 16:31

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Contributors

Author: Elizabeth M.M. Bernthal
Author: J. Lathlean
Author: M. Gobbi
Author: R.G. Simpson

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