The process of analysis during a grounded theory study of men during their partners' pregnancies


  • Jenny Donovan MSc BN EhpAppSc RN RM IWC FRCNA

    1. Lecturer in Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Flinders University of South Australia, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, Australia
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This research builds on the work of Barclay (1993) who studied couples during pregnancy and discovered that there was a mismatch between sexual interest levels of men and women during pregnancy As well, little is known about the social and emotional experiences of men during their partners' pregnancies One antenatal group consisting of six men, whose partners were in the second trimester of pregnancy, attended a series of five meetings and subsequent individual interviews Additional data and insights were gained by the researcher and the research assistant attending other antenatal classes with men and women present The research data consisted of transcripts of tape-recorded interviews, group discussions, observations and field notes made by the researcher and co-leader following each of the group sessions The aim was systematically to develop a substantive grounded theory which was drawn from the experiences of the men during this transitional period in their lives This paper discusses the process of analysis which led to the central phenomenon, the core category of the research, around which the grounded theory is built Five theoretical constructs emerged from the data collected (a) ambivalence in the early stages of pregnancy, (b) relationship with baby not real, (c) how should I be as a father?, (d) coping with the changing roles and lifestyle, and (e) disequilibrium in relationship with female partner The last construct emerged as the basic social process The nature of this relationship changed over the duration of the pregnancy Emotional turmoil and anxiety in men contributed to the ‘mismatch’ in male and female expectations of the relationship The findings of the research suggested that current antenatal classes did not meet the needs of the male partner It appears that if men and women were informed early in the pregnancy that ambivalence, anxiety and increased tension were common experiences during pregnancy then they could get on with the business of working out how they might effectively deal with these changes