• Development of antenatal education to raise awareness of the risk of relationship conflict

      Steen, Mary; Downe, Soo; Graham-Kevan, Niki; University of Chester ; University of Central Lancashire ; University of Central Lancashire (Redactive Publishing, 2011-06)
      Background: Relationship conflict and abuse occurs in every day life and often starts or escalates during pregnancy with devasting health and well-being consequences, the most severe being loss of life. This paper is the second in a series of two - the first paper described and discussed the first phase of the study, exploring the experiences of participants attending Start Treating Others Positively, a UK, Leeds-based charity. Aim: To explore STOP's participants' views of what could be included in an antenatal parenting education session for expectant parents to enable and empower them to manage emotions and behaviour and prevent any relationship conflict escalating to abuse. Method: An exploratory study involving 20 parents attending sessions organised by STOP. The university's health ethics committee granted approval and the standards recommended by the NHS Research Governance Framework for service users' involvement in research were applied. During December 2007 and January 2008, a schedule of open and closed questions was used to guide interviews. Data analysis were conducted by a thematic analysis that involved the identification of emerging themes. Participants' suggestions of useful exercises and techniques to be included in an antenataleducation programme were recorded. Findings: Four themes emerged from the data: 'Why has nobody thought about it before?', 'Sharing the parenting,' 'learning to listen', 'Creating space for me and for you'. Exercises and techniques for an antenatal education programme were suggested that would increase awareness of the risks of relationship conflict and provide preventative methods. Conclusions: Participants' views and suggestions assisted in the development of a specific session on 'managing emotions, behaviour and any relationship conflict when becoming a parent'. Further research will be undertaken to measure the impact of this newly developed programme for expectant parents.
    • Men and women’s perceptions and experiences of attending a managing abusive behaviour programme

      Steen, Mary; Downe, Soo; Graham-Kevan, Niki; University of Chester ; University of Central Lancashire ; University of Central Lancashire (Royal College of Midwives, 2009-12)
      Background: Domestic violence is a global and pernicious problem affecting all spheres of society. It has traditionally been seen as a social problem, but is now recognised to be a public health issue and reducing the incidence is a Priority Action 1 within Public Service Agreement 23. Sadly, domestic violence sometimes commences or escalates during pregnancy and during the transition to parenthood. It has been identified as a significant contributor to maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality, through both direct and indirect means. This paper describes the first phase of a study exploring the views of men and women, who had attended Start Treating Others Positively (STOP) a charity based in Leeds, UK. The adapted Appreciative Inquiry model of behavioural change underpins the work of STOP. Aim of the study: To explore the perceptions and experiences of participants attending STOP, to gain an insight of the effect this has had upon their ability to change their abusive behaviour to non-abusive and manage relationship conflict. Method: An exploratory study involving 20 participants (15 men and 5 women) who are parents and attending Start Treating Others Positively (STOP voluntarily. Ethics approval was granted by the university’s health ethics committee and guidance cited in the NHS Research Governance Framework was addressed throughout the study. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken during December 2007 and January 2008. An interview schedule of open and closed questions was used to gain an insight into respondents’ perceptions and experiences. Data were analysed by using a thematic analysis which entailed the identification of 6 primary emerging themes, 3 secondary core themes, then a final core theme, and the development of a synthesis statement. Findings: This first phase of this study explored the perceptions and experiences of 20 participants who attend STOP on how they have learnt to manage their behaviour to prevent themselves being abusive in their family relationships, and the impact this has had on their lives. Participants agreed that there were no excuses for domestic violence. Initially, six sub-themes emerged from the data: emotional regulation, emotional understanding, developing empathy skills, changed behaviour, developing conflict resolving skills, coping strategies. These were integrated into three overarching themes: emotional stability, cognitive empathy, conflict competency. Following synthesis, these were summarised into one phrase: ‘positive life skills’. The interviews demonstrated the participants had developed positive life skills whilst attending STOP to enable them to manage their emotions, behaviour and family relationship conflict. There was also evidence that these positive life skills were being taught to the participant’s own children Conclusions: Domestic violence has enormous implications for the health sector in general and within maternity services. Preventing future cases of domestic violence will reduce both maternal and fetal mortality and morbidity rates. The government has recognised the need to reduce the prevalence of domestic violence as a high priority, yet there is limited research to demonstrate effective preventative measures.