Nursing in the Maternal Role Attainment Theory | Free Essay Example

Nursing in the Maternal Role Attainment Theory

Words: 586
Topic: Health & Medicine

Definition of the Meta-Paradigm of Nursing in the Maternal Role Attainment Theory and the Parent-Child Interaction Model

The meta-paradigm of nursing in Ramona Mercer’s Maternal Role Attainment Theory is concerned with the health of nontraditional mothers who have an insufficient maternal identity (“Maternal role attainment theory,” 2016). The theory may be applied not only during pregnancy and postpartum care but also to adoptive mothers. Also, it helps in caring for women who occur in a maternity role due to unforeseen circumstances. The core principle of this model is the encouragement of a woman to establish a connection to a baby. Further, the implications of this attachment will strengthen the infant’s feelings towards the mother (“Maternal role attainment theory,” 2016). Mercer’s theory is aimed at the progressive evolution of the mother-child connection in the process of the infant’s growing up.

The basic concept of Mercer’s model in the communication and development process during which the mother connects with the baby gains experience in performing caretaking activities, and gradually learns to enjoy her maternity role. The theory comprises four stages: (1) anticipatory, (2) formal, (3) informal, and (4) personal (“Maternal role attainment theory,” 2016). During the first stage, the women experience social and psychological acclimatization to maternal duties. The second stage is characterized by the acquisition of the maternal function at birth. In the third stage, the woman establishes hew own mothering techniques. The fourth stage is characterized by finding harmony and belief in one’s maternal capability.

Unlike Mercer’s theory, the Parent-Child Interaction Model suggested by Kathryn Barnard comprises not two but three core elements: the parent/caregiver, the infant, and the environment (Wojnar, 2012). Barnard, as well as Mercer, aims at helping the women to adjust to their maternity functions. The evaluation of the parent/caregiver includes such factors as sensitivity to signals, relief of distress, and cultivation of emotional and social growth. The assessment of the infant incorporates the clarity of signals and the receptivity of the parent/caregiver. The environment characteristics, as defined by Barnard, involve the animate and inanimate surroundings of the parents/caregivers and the infants (Wojnar, 2012).

Therefore, both the Maternal Role Attainment Theory and the Parent-Child Interaction Model consider the mental health of the newborn babies and their parents/caregivers as the crucial element of nursing care. However, Barnard’s model incorporates more elements than Mercer’s theory.

Factors Impacting the Maternal Role Identity

There is a variety of factors that may affect the maternal role identity: emotional, physical, environmental, behavioral, social, and others. The woman may have some past adverse experience or, on the other hand, feel discouraged because of having no experience of being a mother. The maternal role identity process may be complicated when there is no support from family. Physical issues are concerned with the reduction of hormones after giving birth. Emotional changes may be connected with a lot of pressure due to new responsibilities.

The parent-child relationship may be impacted by the family environment and the desire of the parent to have a child.

The microsystem, mesosystem, and macrosystem play an important role in the development of parent/child relationships. The microsystem is responsible for shaping the child’s communication patterns with the people to whom he/she is closely connected. Mesosystem helps to organize the interaction between various microsystems (such as home and school). Macrosystem includes the most remote people and events, but they still have a great impact o the child’s development (Oswalt, 2015). Macrosystem is concerned with governmental freedoms and rights, which may impact the child’s development in a positive or adverse way.


Maternal role attainment theory. (2016). Web.

Oswalt, A. (2015, November 18). Urie Bronfenbrenner and child development. Web.

Wojnar, D. (2012). Application of the Barnard parent/caregiver – child interaction model to care of premature infants. In M. Chesnay & B. A. Anderson (Eds.), Caring for the vulnerable: Perspectives in nursing theory, practice, and research (3rd ed.) (pp. 135-144). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.