Value Fulfilment, Value Change and Well-Being during Pregnancy and Postpartum, in First-Time Mothers

Laura McHugh

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Past research has described becoming a mother for the first time as being akin to a major life event (Oakley, 1980, as cited in Rogan et al. 1997) with easy adaptation unusual and with such a transition adversely impacting upon well-being (Clark et al. 2008). Earlier research into values has suggested that they remain relatively stable in adulthood but are vulnerable to change following a major life transition. Notwithstanding this, there is little or no research on value change during pregnancy and following giving birth and to consider any potential impact that this may have on the psychological well-being of the new mother. The current project was a longitudinal study looking at value change and the impact that this would have on well-being in first time mothers during pregnancy and again postpartum. Participants were recruited online and then asked to complete an online battery of measures. The results demonstrated that following this life transition of child birth there was no specific change in the structure of values, but did evidence that certain values did increase in their level of importance from pregnancy to postpartum, whilst others decreased. Results also demonstrated that value fulfilment reduced from pregnancy to postpartum and confirmed that this was clearly linked to the mother’s well-being. Lastly, the appraisal of the pregnancy was linked to value fulfilment and higher levels of cognitive well-being, both during pregnancy and postpartum and also a higher level of affective well-being postpartum. In conclusion the results demonstrated useful findings which have allowed there to be more understanding of values and value fulfilment in the context of this life transition and how this is linked to both the appraisal of the pregnancy and how all are linked to subjective well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
Award date1 Nov 2016
Publication statusUnpublished - 2016


  • values, fulfilment, well-being, pregnancy, postpartum.

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