The birth memories and recall questionnaire (BirthMARQ): development and evaluation

Foley, Suzanne, Crawley, Rosalind, Wilkie, Stephanie and Ayers, Susan (2014) The birth memories and recall questionnaire (BirthMARQ): development and evaluation. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 14 (211). ISSN 1471-2393

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Abstract

Background

Childbirth is a challenging and emotive experience that is accompanied by strong positive and/or negative emotions. Memories of birth may be associated with how women cognitively process birth events postpartum and potentially their adaptation to parenthood. Characteristics of memories for birth may also be associated with postnatal psychological wellbeing. This paper reports the development and evaluation of a questionnaire to measure characteristics of memories of childbirth and to examine the relationship between memories for birth and mental health.
Methods

The Birth Memories and Recall Questionnaire (BirthMARQ) was developed by generating items from literature reviews and general measures of memory characteristics to cover dimensions relevant to childbirth. Fifty nine items were administered to 523 women in the first year after childbirth (M = 23.7 weeks) as part of an online study of childbirth. Validity of the final scale was checked by examining differences between women with and without probable depression and PTSD.
Results

Principal components analysis identified 23 items representing six aspects of memory accounting for 64% of the variance. These were: Emotional memory, Centrality of memory to identity, Coherence, Reliving, Involuntary recall, and Sensory memory. Reliability was good (M alpha = .80). Women with probable depression or PTSD reported more emotional memory, centrality of memories and involuntary recall. Women with probable depression also reported more reliving, and those with probable PTSD reported less coherence and sensory memory.
Conclusion

The results suggest the BirthMARQ is a coherent and valid measure of the characteristics of memory for childbirth which may be important in postnatal mood and psychopathology. While further testing of its reliability and validity is needed, it is a measure capable of becoming a valuable tool for examining memory characteristics in the important context of childbirth.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Childbirth, Memory characteristics, Birth memories, Postnatal depression,Postnatal PTSD
Subjects: Psychology > Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Applied Sciences
Faculty of Applied Sciences > Department of Psychology
Health Sciences and Wellbeing Beacon
Depositing User: Hannah Dodd
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2014 14:14
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2017 18:49
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/5016

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