COMPANIONSHIP IN THE PERINATAL PERIOD: A Cross-Cultural Survey of Women's Experiences


  • Beverley Chalmers PhD,

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    • 1Until the end of 1992, Dr. Chalmers was on the staff of the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg) and taught in both the School of Psychology and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Baragwanath Hospital (Soweto). She currently lives in Canada and is a Clinical Scientist in the Perinatal Program of Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto. She frequently serves as a temporary advisor for the World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe, and for UNICEF in the Countries of Central and Eastern Europe. She was a founder member and the National Chairperson of the Association for Childbirth and Parenthood of Southern Africa. She is involved in research into the psychosocial and cultural aspects of pregnancy, birth, and the early stages of parenthood and is the author of African birth: childbirth in cultural transition and Pregnancy and parenthood: Heaven or Hell.

  • Denny Meyer DBL

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    • 2Denny Meyer, DBL, is a statistician employed as a senior lecturer in the Department of Statistics at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. She acts as a statistical consultant to industry, specializing in scientific and market research. In addition, she is active in applied statistical research specializing in time series analyses and multivariate analysis.

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Recent research indicates that the nature of the companionship available for women during their transition to parenthood is important for psychological adjustment. The specific nature of the best provider and form of support is not yet well defined. Cross-cultural differences in women's preferences for supportive companions in the perinatal period occur. The present study explores what companionship is currently offered and by whom, and women's reactions to this in three different cultural groups.