Factors that Influence Prepared Childbirth Couples' Use of Epidural Anesthesia for Labor and Delivery

Date of Award

Spring 5-1986

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Community & Environmental Health

Committee Director

John L. Echternach

Committee Member

Sandra Levi

Committee Member

Chuck Smith

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.C48C42


The purpose of this study was to identify factors that influence a Prepared Childbirth couple's decision to utilize epidural anesthesia for labor and delivery. Review of the literature indicated a high correlation between epidural use for uncomplicated labors and deliveries and a high incidence of maternal complications and low neonatal neurological and behavioral scores.

A sample of twenty-nine couples was used in this prospective, non-experimental field study for the research. Data were collected utilizing two developed demographic and factual event tools, Rotter's Internal-External Locus of Control Tool and Spanier's Dyadic Marital Adjustment Tool.

Three hypotheses were developed and data were analyzed utilizing Pearson rand Multiple Regression statistical procedures. The results of the research clearly indicated that internal locus of control and a high degree of marital adjustment are related to a decreased use of epidural anesthesia by Prepared Childbirth couples in labor and delivery. Additionally, analyses of the data demonstrated that a significant relationship existed between several variables and the use of epidural anesthesia by Prepared Childbirth couples for labor and delivery. These variables were marital adjustment scores, locus of control, physician's view of epidural anesthesia and length of marriage.

These results clearly indicate the need for improved childbirth education, supportive nursing staff, a family centered maternity unit, a progressive physician, and a good husband-wife relationship. Improvement in these areas may decrease the anesthesia usage for women in labor, therefore, decreasing some of the associated risks of childbearing.


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