Postpartum psychosis and relationships : their mutual influence from the perspective of women and significant others

Wyatt, Caroline and Murray, Craig David and Davies, Jenny Shuttleworth and Jomeen, Julie (2015) Postpartum psychosis and relationships : their mutual influence from the perspective of women and significant others. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 33 (4). pp. 426-442. ISSN 0264-6838

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Objective: To explore how women and their significant others make sense of their experience of postpartum psychosis (PP), their relationships, and the mutual influence of these. Background: Although previous studies have highlighted the potential strain placed on relationships by an experience of PP, none have explored shared perceptions of relationships during this time. Methods: Seven women who had experienced PP were interviewed, alongside a significant other of their choosing. Data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), paying particular attention to understandings shared or disputed by the dyad. Results: Four themes emerged from the data: (a) ‘she wasn’t herself’: threatened relationships through loss of ‘normal’ self; (b) invalidation and isolation: relational dynamics in seeking, receiving and providing support; (c) ‘the worst life can throw at us’: shared perceptions of trust and respect following PP; and (d) a double-edged sword: understanding relationships as negatively and positively influencing PP experience. Conclusion: The results highlight the complexity of interactions between the experience of PP and close relationships. Although PP can create difficulties within relationships, ultimately the experience can result in stronger connections with significant others. Supportive relationships can play an important role in recovery from PP. Methodological limitations, clinical implications and areas for further research are considered.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? postpartum psychosismotherssignificant othersdyadic interviewsqualitative methodspediatrics, perinatology, and child healthpsychology(all)obstetrics and gynaecologyreproductive medicine ??
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Deposited On:
16 Mar 2016 11:32
Last Modified:
28 Nov 2023 11:23