Women’s constructions of their relationships with their mothers in the context of the development and experience of their own depression.

Flavio, Simona (2015-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : International literature suggests that women are particularly affected by depression, with one quarter of adult females reporting lifetime prevalence of the disorder. Similarly in the South African context, epidemiological findings indicate that low-income, South African mothers (and women in general) are particularly prone to depression. Historically the mother-child re-lationship has been valorised, essentialised and seen as pivotal to early childhood development, whilst a problematic maternal relationship has been constructed as the cause of children’s emo-tional distress. This study aimed to provide an in depth account of women’s constructions of their experience of depression and their relationships with their mothers. This feminist social constructionist study took place in a low-income, peri-urban community in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with ten low-income women who had been diagnosed with depression. Data were analysed using case studies and Charmaz’ social constructionist grounded theory. A number of important find-ings emerged. Firstly, women with depression felt controlled by their mothers and self-silenced important feelings in their relationships with them in this community. As a result of their si-lencing, they felt angry, sad and depressed. Furthermore, the women expressed the determina-tion not to repeat their relationship with their mothers in their relationships with their own children. Implicit to women’s constructions of their relationships with their mothers, is the idealised concept of the “good mother” and the “good woman”, which informed their construc-tions of their relationships with their mothers. Recommendations emphasise the need to broaden conceptualisations of the “good mother” and the “good mother – daughter relation-ship” relative to the multilayered contexts in which they arise, and to provide interventions aimed at allowing low-income women with depression a space in which to voice their feelings authentically without the threat of social sanction.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die internasionale literatuur suggereer dat vrouens spesifiek geaffekteer word deur depressie, met ‘n kwart van volwasse vrouens wat rapporteer dat depressie regdeur hul lewensduur teen-woordig was. In die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks, toon soortgelyke epidemiologiese bevindinge dat lae-inkomste, Suid-Afrikaanse moeders (asook vrouens in die algemeen), spesifiek geneig is tot depressie. Histories word die verhouding tussen ‘n moeder en haar kind beskou as van sentrale belang in die kind se vroeë ontwikkeling, terwyl ‘n problematiese moeder-kind ver-houding dikwels gekonstruktureer word as ‘n oorsaak van ‘n kind se emosionele probleme. In die huidige studie is beoog om ondersoek in te stel na hoe vrouens depressie ervaar en hoe hulle hul verhoudings met hul moeders konstrueer. Hierdie feministiese, sosiaal-konstruksion-istiese studie is gedoen in ‘n lae-inkomste, buitestedelike gemeenskap in die Wes-Kaap, Suid Afrika. Semi-gestruktureerde, in-diepte onderhoude is met 10 lae-inkomste vrouens met ‘n di-agnose van depressie uitgevoer. Data is geanaliseer deur gevallestudies en Charmaz se “social constructionist grounded theory” te gebruik. Eerstens is gevind dat vrouens met depressie in hierdie gemeenskap gevoel het dat hulle moeders baie beheersugtig was en dikwels hulle emo-sies geïgnoreer het. Deelnemers in die studie het gerapporteer dat hierdie tipe verhoudings hulle kwaad, hartseer of depressief laat voel het. Dit het verder geblyk dat die vrouens vas-berade was om nie hul moederlike verhoudings te herhaal in hul verhoudings met hul eie kinders nie. Die geïdealiseerde konsepte van die “goeie moeder” en die “goeie vrou” was verder implisiet in die vrouens se konstruksies van hulle verhoudings met hul moeders, en het weer hul konstruksies van hul verhoudings met hul moeders beïnvloed. Die studie beklemtoon die belangrikheid daarvan om konseptualiserings van die “goeie moeder” en “goeie moeder-dogter verhoudings” te verbreed. Verder kom die navorser ook tot die gevolgtrekking dat in-tervensies nodig is waarin lae-inkomste vrouens met depressie die ruimte gegee word om, sonder die bedreiging van sosiale sanksies, aan hul ware gevoelens uiting te gee.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97925
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