Vicarious experience: A source of self-efficacy for birth
Cynthia L. Farley, CNM, PhD, FACNM
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Vicarious experiences constitute a source of information regarding self-efficacy for the task of giving birth. What influence does the vicarious experience of witnessing birth have on the childbirth self-efficacy of pregnant women anticipating their first birth? Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used in this nonexperimental study that compared pregnant, nulliparous women who had a prior live modeling vicarious birth experience with women who had not had this experience on self-efficacy percepts for labor and birth. Selected antepartal, intrapartal, and postpartal variables were examined. One hundred fifty-nine women recruited from six nurse-midwifery practices participated in the study. Major quantitative findings included (a) no group dfferences in mean self-efficacy expectancy scores between women who had a prior live modeling vicarious experience and those who had not, (b) no relationship between the value of the five modeling vicarious birth experience and social comparison to the birth model to self-efficacy, (c) generalized childbirth expectations explained 25% of the variance in childbirth self-efficacy, and (d) a woman's satisfaction with her birth experience and the attribution of labor and birth performance to the woman's own efforts explained 23% of the variance in self-efficacy for a future labor and birth. Thematic analysis was used to examine the conversations of eight women about their witnessed birth experiences. Identified qualitative themes were (a) witnessed birth—embedded in relationship, (b) witnessed birth—giving witness to giving birth, (c) anticipating birth—planning for the unknowable, (d) anticipating birth—social influences, and (e) a special category of birth observer—women health-care workers. Implications for the application of self-efficacy theory to the area of childbirth, for clinical practice, and for future research are discussed.
This dissertation has also been disseminated through the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. Dissertation/thesis number: 9951651; ProQuest document ID: 304516333. The author still retains copyright.
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