Motherhood: A Discrepancy Theory

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Motherhood is a highly anticipated and positive event for most women. Society has constructed many ideal images of motherhood, giving women standards to live up to, and many times setting them up for disappointment. When this disappointment occurs, an emotional reaction follows, which may be fear, guilt, or shame. However, some women are able to experience this mismatch between an ideal and actual self and adapt with minimal emotional reaction. There was not a nursing theory that described this phenomenon. “Self-Discrepancy: A Theory Relating Self and Affect” (Higgins, 1987), from the psychology discipline provided concepts and definitions that could be used to derive a nursing theory. The derivation resulted in a testable mid-range theory that could have a significant impact on nursing interventions for postpartum mood disorders.

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