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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Dianna Sorenson


psychological aspects of cesarean section, psychological aspects of childbirth


Currently, cesarean births account for 24% of all births in the United States. Cesarean deliveries are known to have numerous emotional, psychological, and physical impacts on women, some of which are traumatic. However, past research has indicated that: 1) not all women who have cesarean deliveries are traumatized, and 2) that the cesarean delivery experience may not be universal for all women.
The purpose of this study was to identify relationally based behaviors that occurred throughout the perinatal period that contributed to the cesarean delivered women's perception of trauma. Nineteen white, middle class, midcentral women were included in this study. Inclusion criteria was that the women must have had a cesarean delivery that: 1) left the woman feeling sad, depressed, angry, anxious, or otherwise psychologically or emotionally distressed, and 2) evoked recurring troublesome memories or repetitive negative thought patterns not exclusive to the outcome of the baby.
Data was gathered utilizing naturalistic inquiry and was analyzed through matrix analysis. Sixteen negative relational (intrapersonal, interpersonal, and situational) behaviors were identified: 1) Lack of understanding, 2) Displaying indifference, 3) Violating, 4) Dehumanizing, 5) Unsupporting, 6) Conveying incompetence, 7) Abandoning, 8) Focusing on Tasks, 9) Restraining, 10) Coercing, 11) Withholding explanation, 12) Invalidating, 13) Minimizing, 14) Pacifying, 15) Stigmatizing, and 16) Blaming. These behaviors were labeled as betraying behaviors defined as actions/inactions that result in a perception that expectations built on trust were not met. The greatest number of betraying behaviors were displayed in the situational relationship context by the nursing staff (n=182), followed by physicians (n=107), spouse (interpersonal relationship, n=47), and self (intrapersonal relationship, n=34).

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Cesarean section -- Psychological aspects
Childbirth -- Psychological aspects



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1996 Rena Robbennolt. All rights reserved