The Effects of Early Adversity on Women’s Fertility Intentions: An Intuitive Inquiry
Doyle, Selena M
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In this thesis I use intuitive inquiry as a framework for investigating the relation between women’s mental health and reproductive health. Specifically, the possible role that early adversity has on fertility intentions. Prior to presenting my understandings of these topics (in the form of preliminary lenses), I offer a description of theories that have been used to understand reproductive attitudes and behavior. I argue that these theories have an assumption of “healthy” or “typical” development, and that they may not be as effective for predicting outcomes for women with above-average levels of early adversity. I highlight the small amount of research that has investigated fertility intentions within women who have experiences of early adversity. I argue that knowledge and theory from contemporary areas in mental health (neurobiological theory) should be integrated with reproductive research. I analyzed interview transcripts of young, childfree women, with histories of early adversity: by consulting these transcripts, I suggest that fear and anxiety may be significant factors which should be considered when understanding the fertility intentions of women who have experienced early adversity. From the perspective of a neurobiological framework, I suggest reasons why women’s experiences of early adversity may impact their fertility intentions. Lastly, I argue that identifying and intervening with this population during the sensitive perinatal time is important to improve outcomes for mothers and children.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeMcMullen, Linda; Downe, Pamela; Abonyi, Sylvia