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Identifying fear of childbirth in a UK population: qualitative examination of the clarity and acceptability of existing measurement tools in a small UK sample

Slade, P, Balling, K, Sheen, K and Houghton, G (2020) Identifying fear of childbirth in a UK population: qualitative examination of the clarity and acceptability of existing measurement tools in a small UK sample. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 20. ISSN 1471-2393

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Abstract

Background: Fear of childbirth is related to but not synonymous with general anxiety, and represents a superior predictor for maternal and infant outcomes. There is a need to improve the identification and provision of support for women experiencing high fear of childbirth. However it is uncertain as to whether existing measurement tools have appropriate content validity (i.e. cover the relevant domains within the construct), practical utility, and whether they are acceptable for use with a UK population. This study aimed to (1) identify the utility and acceptability of existing measures of fear of childbirth (FOC) with a small UK sample and (2) map the content of existing measures to the key concepts of fear of childbirth established by previous research.
Methods: Ten pregnant women; five with high and five with low fear of childbirth participated in a cognitive interview covering four most commonly used measures of fear of childbirth: 1. The Wijma Delivery Expectancy Questionnaire (WDEQ A), 2. The Oxford Worries about Labour Scale (OWLS), 3. The Slade-Pais Expectations of Childbirth Scale – fear subscale (SPECS) and 4. The Fear of Birth scale (FOBS). Each measure was also reviewed by participants for ease and clarity of understanding and acceptability. The measures were then reviewed against the key domains identified in the fear of childbirth literature to ascertain the adequacy of content validity of each measure. Interviews were analysed using thematic analysis for each scale item.
Results: All measures except the FOBS, included items that either women did not understand or, if where there was understanding the meanings were inconsistent across women. All measures demonstrated limited acceptability and content validity for the specific construct of FOC. Therefore, none of the measurement tools currently used within the UK met criteria for understanding, acceptability and content validity for measurement of FOC.
Conclusions: Findings emphasise a need to develop a specific fear of childbirth tool with good clarity which demonstrates appropriate content validity, and that is acceptable in presentation and length for pregnant women in a UK population.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1110 Nursing, 1114 Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine, 1117 Public Health and Health Services
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Divisions: Psychology (new Sep 2019)
Publisher: BioMed Central
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2020 09:31
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2020 09:45
DOI or Identification number: 10.1186/s12884-020-03249-4
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13715

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