Date of Award

2003

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine the experiences and perceptions of men living with a partner who has postnatal depression (PND). Family systems theory was used to provide a framework within which to evaluate men's relationships with immediate and extended family members. A semi-structured interview was used to understand the experiences and perceptions of seven men with partners who had PND. Schweitzer's (1997) phenomenological approach was used to explicate meaning and extract themes from the interview transcripts. Six major themes were identified from the data. These included changes in the division of labour, issues of self, altered family relationships, PND- the problem, support within the family system and interaction with health professionals. The findings suggest that PND is a real problem for men and not just women. Men's mental health and emotional well-being during their partner's PND was found to be a serious issue that can have implications for other members of the family. The men experienced both negative and positive changes in their relationship with their partner, children, parents and/or in-laws, and perceived that close family support was crucial for family functioning during their partner's PND. Several clinical implications were identified including a need for more awareness of PND and the impact it can have on men and other family members, and the need for more resources, support and services that are meaningful and appropriate for men living with a postnatally depressed partner.

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