Mothers' Decision-Making About Medication for Mental Health Difficulties: a Grounded Theory Study
Aims: This Grounded Theory study aimed to capture the social processes involved in mothers’ decision-making around psychotropic medication. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 participants who were mothers who had been prescribed medication for mental distress when they had children below the age of 18 living with them. Results: Analysis via Grounded Theory found three processes informing medication use: Managing Conflicting Identities, Balancing Needs, and Seeking Integrated Care. Categories and subcategories capture how mothers tried to manage the conflicting identities of the perfect mother who copes and the stigmatised identity of medication user; how they made decisions around medication that allowed them to balance their own needs with the needs of their children; and how they sought collaborative care from professionals, and wanted their mothering taken into account in medication consultations. The study joins a growing body of research on the psychosocial motivations for medication decision-making, and demonstrates that mothering contributes complex relational and identity factors, including a consideration of the needs of potential future children. Implications: Recommendations are made about how maternal and mental health professionals might better meet mothers’ needs, including understanding their concerns about stigma and identity, the relational nature of their decision-making about medication, and the way they take desired future children into account in their medication decisions. Suggestions are made for future research with more diverse samples.
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