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The development and initial validation of the Perinatal Mental Health Awareness scale in student midwives

Martin, Colin R.; Jomeen, Julie; Jarrett, Patricia


Colin R. Martin

Julie Jomeen

Patricia Jarrett


Background & aim: Perinatal mental health problems have been demonstrated to impact upon maternal, and fetal/child outcomes. Despite the global evidence and a policy-driven responsibility for identification of these problems, research demonstrates that student midwives/midwives lack knowledge and confidence to assess, identify, and manage them. A similar context is evident for learning disabilities, despite the holistic care philosophy of midwifery. A brief assessment tool to identify knowledge and confidence defecits and strengths within a holistic care framework could support curriculum development. This study sought to develop a Perinatal Mental Health Awareness scale and evaluate its psychometric properties in student midwives.
Methods: We employed a cross-sectional and exploratory instrument development and evaluation design to determine the measurement veracity of the new scale.
Results: The scale demonstrated good psychometric properties, revealing three subscales mapping onto (i) mental health symptoms, (ii) physical/medical issues and (iii) learning disability. Results indicated a clear differentiation in scores across the subscales, indicating comparative deficits in mental health domains.
Conclusion: Our findings facilitate confidence in the psychometric robustness of the measure. The scale enables student midwives to assess and compare different domains of midwifery practice, in line with a holistic model of midwifery care. A focus on physical health in midwifery education appears to disadvantage knowledge and confidence for managing mental health problems in a midwifery context. This valuable finding highlights the potential need for curriculum rebalancing. The measure offers the opportunity to assess and develop curriculum/training provision and monitor the effectiveness of subsequent curricular developments.


Martin, C. R., Jomeen, J., & Jarrett, P. (2017). The development and initial validation of the Perinatal Mental Health Awareness scale in student midwives. Journal of midwifery and reproductive health, 5(4), 1021-1031.

Acceptance Date May 5, 2017
Publication Date 2017-10
Deposit Date Nov 14, 2017
Publicly Available Date Nov 30, 2017
Journal Journal of midwifery and reproductive health
Electronic ISSN 2345-4792
Publisher Mashhad University of Medical Sciences
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue 4
Pages 1021-1031
Keywords Assessment; Curriculum; Holisitic; Learning disability; Perinatal mental health; Psychometric
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