Get access

A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK FOR RESEARCH ON LIFETIME VIOLENCE, POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS, AND CHILDBEARING

Authors

  • Julia S. Seng CNM, PhD

    Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Julia Seng completed her midwifery education and doctorate in women's health nursing at the University of Michigan. She wrote this article while she was an assistant professor at the University of Iowa College of Nursing and while she was a Pfizer Postdoctoral Fellow. Currently, Dr. Seng is a primary research scientist at the University of Michigan School of Nursing and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.


University of Michigan School of Nursing, 400 N. Ingalls, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0482.

ABSTRACT

The objective of this theoretical article is to describe a conceptual framework for research on effects of past and current abuse and posttraumatic stress on childbearing women. The proposed framework builds on an earlier framework proposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for research on violence occurring around the time of pregnancy. Two main adaptations are suggested. First, cumulative lifetime history of abuse trauma is added to the framework in addition to violence occurring around the time of pregnancy. Second, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is given greater emphasis as a potential factor contributing to adverse maternity outcomes based on the theoretical proposition that PTSD could be a plausible mechanism for adverse outcomes via both behavioral and neuroendocrine pathways. More research is needed on the effects of violence and PTSD on childbearing. This framework for research could be used to facilitate design of studies in which investigators want to consider PTSD as a potential mediator between lifetime exposure to violence and negative childbearing processes and outcomes. It is congruent with a CDC framework for research and could be incorporated into studies designed to meet their recommendations.

Ancillary