Psychological aspects of parenting in at-risk groups

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Somers, Carol
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University College Cork
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Paper 1: The effectiveness of Mother-Infant Psychotherapy at improving parent-infant interactions: Systematic review Abstract- Mother-Infant Psychotherapy (MIP) is a psychodynamic, dyadic intervention which aims to bolster mother-infant interactions, attachment security and maternal wellbeing. Benefits have been promising, but the ultimate effectiveness of MIP remains equivocal. This systematic review assessedthe reported effectiveness of MIP across these domains in mothers with mental health difficulties and their infants. Six electronic databases were searched, along with reference lists of MIP studies. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) which evaluated the effects of MIP on parent-infant interactions, attachment and maternal depression in mothers with mental health difficulties were included. The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) for RCTs was used to assess the quality of the included studies. Eleven RCTs that met the inclusion criteria were reviewed. Results showed a lack of support for the effectiveness of MIP on enhancing mother-infant interactions. MIP was found to be effective at reducing maternal depression, and more favourable than controls at improving attachment security, but not in comparison to another psychodynamic, dyadic intervention. Six of the included studies were graded as fair or poor quality. Well-designed larger scale RCTs are needed to further inform the research base on the effectiveness of MIP. Keywords: Mother-Infant Psychotherapy, attachment, mother-infant interactions, mother-infant relationship, systematic review Paper 2: Understanding the experiences of parenting a child with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Abstract - Background: Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a complex, rare and relatively unknown group of connective tissue disorders that can have a significant effect on an individual’s physical, psychological, social and emotional wellbeing. There is a dearth of research examining parents’ experiences of raising children with EDS. Aims: To explore the lived experiences of parenting a child with EDS and to examine how family factors impact on the outcomes for children with this condition. Methods: Parents were recruited via purposive sampling from a specialist child development clinic. Four parents participated in in-depth semi-structured interviews. Data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Results: This study revealed that the impact of EDS is widespread in families affecting their social and emotional health. Three superordinate themes were identified: (1) Pain and strain, (2) Disjointed- interactions with professionals;and (3) “Pulling and pacing”: Life with EDS. Discussion: This was the first study to gain an insight into the lived experiences of parenting a child with EDS. The themes that emerged from the analysis demonstrate the significant impact that EDS can have on families. Parents’ detailed accounts highlight the social, emotional, and financial challenges that families with EDS face in advocating for supports for their children.
Parenting , Parent-infant psychotherapy , Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
Somers, C. 2021. Psychological aspects of parenting in at-risk groups. DClinPsych Thesis, University College Cork.