Role expectation discrepancy: A comparison of nonobese, moderately obese and excessively obese primigravidas




Weatherby, Francene

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The purposes of this study were to develop an instrument to measure the new construct role expectation discrepancy and to test four specific hypotheses related to this construct. Using a conceptual framework based on interrelated conceptions from role theory, symbolic interactionism, Burr's role transition theory and Rubin's theory of maternal role attainment, two research instruments, the Ideal Pregnant Role Scale (IPRS) and the Self Perception in Pregnant Role Scale (SPPRS) were developed and pilot tested. The final study involved forty-nine nonobese pregnant subjects, twenty-five moderately obese pregnant subjects and twenty-three excessively obese pregnant subjects.

Each thirty-nine-item instrument contained three subscales: Affective Aspects of the Pregnant Role subscale, Behavioral Aspects of the Pregnant Role subscale and Social Aspects of the Pregnant Role subscale. Reliability was established using Cronbach's coefficient alpha. Final estimations of internal consistency were.82 for the IPRS and.78 for the SPPRS. Content validity was built into the instruments for the inception through appropriate test item selection using literature review, personal experience and the experience of a panel of experts. Criterion validity was established through correlational studies comparing scores on the researcher-developed instruments with scores on Cranley's Maternal-Fetal Attachment Scale.

Correlational studies between research instrument scores and twenty-two demographic variables were calculated. Statistically significant negative correlations were found between IPRS scores/SPPRS scores and variables involving mass (height, current weight and prepregnant weight), and statistically significant positive correlations were found between these mass variables and role expectation discrepancy scores. Statistically significant differences were also found between married subjects and single subjects regarding mean scores on the SPSOC, SOCDIFF, SPTOT and TOTDIFF subscales and totals.

Hypothesis testing revealed no statistically significant differences between IPRS scores and SPPRS scores for nonobese subjects and moderately obese subects. There was, however, a statistically significant difference in these scores for excessively obese subjects. Finally, there was a statistically significant difference in role expectation discrepancy scores among the three study groups, with excessively obese pregnant subjects having significantly higher discrepancy scores than the other two groups.



Self-Perception in Pregnant Role Scale (SPPRS), Role expectation discrepancy