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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport eTheses
Title: Screening and alcohol brief interventions in antenatal care: a realistic evaluation
Author(s): Doi, Lawrence K.
Supervisor(s): Jepson, Ruth
Cheyne, Helen
Wyke, Sally
Keywords: Alcohol
Brief interventions
antenatal settings
Pregnant women
Effects of alcohol
Fetal alcohol syndrome
Alcohol screening
Screening and Brief Interventions
Prenatal alcohol exposure
Drinking in pregnancy
Alcohol brief interventions
Issue Date: 30-Mar-2012
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Background: Prenatal alcohol consumption is one of the leading preventable causes of birth defects, including fetal alcohol syndrome and learning disabilities. Although there is strong evidence of the benefits of screening and alcohol brief interventions (ABIs) in reducing hazardous and harmful drinking among the primary care population, evidence of its effectiveness with the antenatal care population is limited. Nevertheless, the Scottish Government is incorporating an alcohol screening and ABI programme as part of the routine antenatal care provided to women in a bid to protect the health and safety of the unborn child and improve subsequent health and developmental outcomes. This research therefore seeks to increase understanding of the factors that are likely to influence the effectiveness of this recently implemented programme. It also aims to explore the extent to which contemporary issues such as change in guidelines regarding alcohol consumption during pregnancy influences perceptions and attitudes, and the possible implications of these on the screening and ABI delivery. Methods: The study described in this thesis employed a realistic evaluation methodology. Realistic evaluation is a theory-driven approach to investigating social programmes. It is concerned with hypothesising, testing and refining programme theories by exploring the interaction of contexts, mechanisms and outcomes. To identify the relevant screening and ABI programme theories, two separate systematic reviews, a critical review and four face-to-face interviews were undertaken with health policy implementers. The findings were used to construct context, mechanism and outcomes propositions. The propositions were then tested by conducting individual interviews with seventeen pregnant women and fifteen midwives, a further six midwifery team leaders were involved in a focus group discussion. A thematic approach using a hybrid of inductive and deductive coding and theme development informed the qualitative analysis. Results: In the context of uncertainties regarding the threshold of drinking that causes fetal harm, pregnant women reported that screening assessment helped them to reflect on their drinking behaviour and facilitate behaviour change. For women who drank at hazardous and harmful levels before attending the booking appointment, screening and ABI may be helpful in terms of eliciting behaviour change. However, they may not be very beneficial in terms of reducing harm to the fetus as it has been found that drinking during the first trimester poses the most risk to the fetus. Training and resources provided to midwives as part of the screening and ABI programme were found to be facilitating mechanisms that midwives indicated improved their skills and confidence. However, most of the midwives had not subsequently employed the motivational interviewing skills required for the ABI delivery, as many of the pregnant women reported that they reduced or abstained from alcohol consumption once pregnancy was confirmed. The outcome noted was that midwives confidence decreased leading to missed opportunities to appropriately deliver the ABI to eligible women. The small numbers of women being identified for ABI meant midwives rarely delivered the ABI. This negatively influenced midwives attitudes as they then accorded ABI low priority in their workload. Other disenabling mechanisms noted to be hampering the implementation of the screening and ABI initiative included midwives contending with competing priorities at the booking appointments, and the lack of adequate rapport between midwives and pregnant women at the booking appointment to discuss alcohol issues appropriately, leading to women providing socially desirable responses to screening questions. Conclusions: The findings of this study has generated greater explanations of the working of the screening and ABI programme in antenatal care setting and has provided transferable lessons that can be used by others intending to implement similar programmes in other settings.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health

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