Family perspectives on bed wetting in young people

Morison, Moya Joy (1995). Family perspectives on bed wetting in young people. PhD thesis The Open University.



The aim of this study was to explore the nature and experience of bed wetting from the perspective of young people who wet the bed, and that of their parents and siblings. A review of the literature suggested that there was still much to be learned about how families manage a young person's bed wetting in the context of every day family life. A qualitative, inductive approach and grounded theory generating methods were used. Nineteen families and twenty young people aged 4 to 17 years, living in some of the most deprived as well as the most affluent localities in the study area, took part. Analysis of in-depth unstructured conversations was facilitated by NUD#IST Power Version 3.0 computer software. With the aid of memos, logic diagrams and a coding paradigm (axial coding) the relationships between emergent concepts were identified and tested and a grounded theory developed around the core concept of "perceived control", which often manifested as "perceived helplessness". The data help to explain how parents' and young people's attitudes towards bed wetting may be reinforced as they interact from day to day. The study has revealed many insights into family processes and the roles played by individual family members, including fathers and siblings. The social consequences of bed wetting are described. Several conditions have been identified which, it is strongly suggested by the data, may need to be fulfilled for the young person to have the best chance of becoming reliably dry at night, using conventional treatment methods. Families' experiences of methods suggested by health care professionals have important implications for practice. It is argued that the family, rather than the individual or the mother-child dyad, should be the unit of intervention. Ways of enhancing a belief in competence among young people, their parents and health care professionals are described.

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