An investigation into how first generation Nigerian mothers living in the UK experience postnatal depression: an interpretative phenomenological analysis
Ling, Lydia Success (2019) An investigation into how first generation Nigerian mothers living in the UK experience postnatal depression: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.
postnatal depression (PND); postpartum depression (PPD); first generation Nigerian mothers (FGNMs); Black and Minority Ethnic (BME); Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA); counselling psychology
Abstract / Introduction
According to census statistics of the United Kingdom (UK), people who identify as black Africans are now the largest black community group in Britain as opposed to those who identify as African Caribbean (ONS, 2015) and 2.3% of UK immigrants are Nigerian-born (Migration Observatory, 2017). Previous research reported that BME mothers in the UK do not access clinical and psychological services. Whilst there are a few studies exploring BME mothers’ experiences of Postnatal Depression (PND), there has been no research to date that has exclusively investigated the ‘lived’ experiences of the First Generation Nigerian Mothers (FGNMs) in relation to PND. This study is the first to investigate FGNMs’ postnatal depression experience in the UK. The study aimed to explore how FGNMs living in the UK experience PND, their experiences of available resources/treatment and the way they manage and cope with postnatal depression.
A verbatim account of semi-structured interview data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The participants included six FGNMs aged between 30 and 45 who reported being formally diagnosed with PND by their GPs.
Three main themes were generated in the process of the analysis: Sociocultural Factors (this talks about cultural expectations, perceptions of PND and adjusting to a different culture), Neglected Nurturer (this discusses the experiences of treatment) and Loneliness and Coping (this refers to lack of support and explores how PND was managed).
The study suggests that the FGNMs encountered difficulties with their diagnosis, treatment and access to service for PND. All mothers felt a sense of cultural pressure and expectation to present as strong and resilient which impacted on early help-seeking. The mothers narrated concerns and negative experiences about how they were treated by healthcare professionals when they sought help and how their psychological needs were neglected, which contradicts previous research suggesting that BME groups do not seek support and are hard to engage. These findings could promote understanding and inform professionals about how to better support these mothers.
Implication for clinical practice:
The findings of the study suggest the need for healthcare professionals to provide equal and unbiased services and follow guidelines for care and referral in order to effectively treat the FGNMs. There is also need for a culturally-specific and psychosocial intervention rather than a predominantly medical model for supporting the mothers.