Problematic substance use in midwives registered with the United Kingdom's Nursing and Midwifery Council:A pragmatic mixed methods study


Objective: Use a pragmatic mixed methods approach to provide a rich understanding of the perceptions of Problematic Substance Use (PSU) and the influences of PSU on the mental and physical health of midwives registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Design: A confidential and anonymous self-administered online survey was employed to encourage wider participation. Setting: United Kingdom Participants: Midwives (n=623) registered with the NMC Measurements: Open text responses were invited throughout the survey. Along with the collection of brief demographic data, PSU was also measured using the Tobacco, Alcohol, Prescription Medications, and Substance Use/Misuse (TAPS) Tool whilst mental and physical health was measured via version 2 of the Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form 12-Item Health Survey. All qualitative open text responses were analysed inductively using reflexive thematic analysis. Multiple regression was used to test whether health outcomes in the sample as a whole were predicted by PSU and Mann-Whitney U tests to compare the health dimensions between participants who met the criteria for PSU and those who did not. Findings: PSU significantly predicted poorer general health, physical functioning, and mental functioning. Additionally, those who met criteria for PSU experienced significantly poorer general, mental, and physical health than those who did not. The influence of PSU was captured via 3 themes and 10 subthemes. Though the signs and symptoms of PSU identified remained broadly consistent, approaches to management did not. Many midwives were conflicted in how they might seek support without facing professional, personal and practical reprisal. Key conclusions and implications for practice: PSU in midwifery populations poses professional, personal, and occupational risks. Congruence between policies and approaches to identification and management may reduce risk overall. Future interventions including educational and practitioner health programmes could also be usefully co-created with midwives, policy, and decision makers to reduce stigmatising attitudes and encourage greater awareness, compassion and help seeking to appropriate sources.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Work & Organisational Psychology
Funding Information: The team would sincerely like to thank everyone who took part in this research. We would also like to thank the ‘Make Birth Better’ Network, the British Journal of Midwifery and the Royal College of Midwives for supporting our recruitment efforts.
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors. CC BY 4.0
Uncontrolled Keywords: Addiction,Impairment,Midwifery,Midwives,Occupational health,Substance use,Obstetrics and Gynaecology,Maternity and Midwifery
Publication ISSN: 0266-6138
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2024 08:22
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2023 09:28
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
https://www.sci ... 1619?via%3Dihub (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2022-09
Published Online Date: 2022-06-20
Accepted Date: 2022-06-19
Authors: Pezaro, Sally
Maher, Karen (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-2279-3465)
Bailey, Elizabeth
Pearce, Gemma



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

| Preview

Export / Share Citation


Additional statistics for this record