Exposure to traumatic perinatal experiences and posttraumatic stress symptoms in midwives: prevalence and association with burnout

Sheen, Kayleigh, Spiby, Helen and Slade, Pauline (2015) Exposure to traumatic perinatal experiences and posttraumatic stress symptoms in midwives: prevalence and association with burnout. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 52 2: 578-587. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2014.11.006

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Author Sheen, Kayleigh
Spiby, Helen
Slade, Pauline
Title Exposure to traumatic perinatal experiences and posttraumatic stress symptoms in midwives: prevalence and association with burnout
Journal name International Journal of Nursing Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0020-7489
1873-491X
Publication date 2015-02
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2014.11.006
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 52
Issue 2
Start page 578
End page 587
Total pages 10
Place of publication Bromley, United Kingdom
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: Midwives provide care in a context where life threatening or stressful events can occur. Little is known about their experiences of traumatic events or the implications for psychological health of this workforce.

Objectives: To investigate midwives' experiences of traumatic perinatal events encountered whilst providing care to women, and to consider potential implications.

Design: A national postal survey of UK midwives was conducted. Participants: 421 midwives with experience of a perinatal event involving a perceived risk to the mother or baby which elicited feelings of fear, helplessness or horror (in the midwife) completed scales assessing posttraumatic stress symptoms, worldview beliefs and burnout.

Results: 33% of midwives within this sample were experiencing symptoms commensurate with clinical posttraumatic stress disorder. Empathy and previous trauma exposure (personal and whilst providing care to women) were associated with more severe posttraumatic stress responses. However, predictive utility was limited, indicating a need to consider additional aspects increasing vulnerability. Symptoms of posttraumatic stress were associated with negative worldview beliefs and two domains of burnout.

Conclusions: Midwives may experience aspects of their work as traumatic and, as a consequence, experience posttraumatic stress symptomatology at clinical levels. This holds important implications for both midwives' personal and professional wellbeing and the wellbeing of the workforce, in addition to other maternity professionals with similar roles and responsibilities. Organisational strategies are required to prepare midwives for such exposure, support midwives following traumatic perinatal events and provide effective intervention for those with significant symptoms
Keyword Burnout
Midwives
Posttraumatic stress
Trauma
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 6 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 03 Nov 2015, 11:26:17 EST by Vicki Percival on behalf of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work