Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Anthropology

Major Professor

Lorena Madrigal, Ph.D.

Keywords

Maternal fetal attachment, Evolution, Developmental plasticity, Logistic regression, Personality

Abstract

The Breech Baby Study is a mixed methods study which combines qualitative and quantitative inquiry. This study explores psycho-social-cultural risk factors for breech presentation from an evolutionary perspective. The quantitative component of the study uses Florida birth certificate and Medicaid data sets from 1992-2003 to evaluate the influence of ethnicity and socio-economic status on breech presentation. Ethnicity and socio-economic status account for less than two percent of the variance of risk factors for breech presentation. The qualitative study includes 114 mothers of breech and cephalic presentation babies who completed the State Trait Personality Inventory and a socio-demographic survey. Of these, 52 mothers of cephalic presentation babies and 23 mothers of breech presentation also participated in an in-depth interview about formative life experiences and peri-conception through delivery.

The primary data analysis found mothers of breech presentation babies exhibit psycho-social-cultural characteristics unlike those found in mothers of cephalic presentation babies. These characteristics include being idealistic, analytical, polished, overextended, and fearful. Mothers of cephalic presentation babies were better equipped to adapt to unexpected situations and to be pragmatic in the face of unresolvable circumstances. Mothers of breech presentation babies were further separated into two categories. One category is achievement focused woman while the other is non-present focused woman. While both sets of breech presentation mothers were idealistic, the achievement focused mothers were more likely to be analytical, polished, and overextended. In contrast, the non-present focused mothers had a history of abuse and were more likely to have an unresolved pregnancy outcome or to be fearful.

Breech presentation is interpreted by attachment theory, evolutionary ecological reproductive theory, and developmental plasticity theory as a fetal strategy to adapt to the intra-uterine relationship environment and an attempt to predict the extra-uterine relationship environment.

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