Personal Constructions of the Mother Role: Perceptions of Mothers in Health Care
This study aimed to explore the personal constructs of mothers in health care, their own role, that of the doctors and how they felt the doctors they consulted construed them in their role. In addition, the study aimed to explore how these construals influenced whether a consultation was considered satisfactory or less than satisfactory. The preferred poles relating to the role of mothers identified by participants across the study included being calm, in control, nurturing, attentive, knowledgeable and confident. How participants felt perceived by doctors was reflected in a number of constructs including whether they were nurturing, calm and were able to balance the needs of the child with the demands of the consultation. Participants in the study overall experienced more satisfaction with doctors they perceived as warm, empathic, compassionate, competent and attentive. Satisfaction also correlated with feeling in control, knowledgeable, calm and being able to attend to the doctor whilst demonstrating care and nurturance to their child. Satisfactory experiences were linked in the study, to feeling validated in their role, accurately anticipating the outcome of the consultation and a greater sense of mutual understanding with the doctors. The study offers an interesting reflection on the influence of both personal agency and societal factors on how the role of mothers is viewed. It also offers recommendations regarding how doctors may consult with mothers to develop a positive and productive interaction and outcome.
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