Show simple item record

Files in this item


Item metadata

dc.contributor.advisorFyfe, Aileen
dc.contributor.advisorEasterby-Smith, Sarah
dc.contributor.authorCampbell, Morag Allan
dc.coverage.spatialxviii, 344 p.en_US
dc.description.abstractMy thesis explores the experiences of women who suffered from mental disorder related to childbirth and pregnancy, looking in particular at Dundee, Fife and Forfarshire in the north-east of Scotland, during the period 1820 to 1930. This study offers a new perspective on women’s lives, wellbeing and healthcare in this region by examining at a local level the ideas surrounding postpartum mental illness. By the mid-nineteenth century, the term ‘puerperal insanity’ was widely known and much discussed and deliberated in medical literature. However, the day-to-day care and treatment of postpartum women suffering from mental disorder was not straightforward. My findings demonstrate that the diagnosis and treatment of postpartum mental illness in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Scotland was a complex issue influenced as much by social and economic factors as by medical ideas. Using records from the chartered asylums at Montrose and Dundee, court and prison records, and newspaper accounts, I have uncovered how childbearing-related mental illness was recognised, accepted and supported by families, neighbours, friends and authorities. Within the asylum, I have revealed how physicians assessed their patients’ characters and status as much as their physical conditions, but nevertheless in many cases provided positive medical care and much-needed rest and nourishment. In criminal cases, my study has looked beyond legislation and verdicts to reveal a positive and constructive approach to the care and custody of women who had committed child murder. Awareness of postpartum mental illness in the community was developed through a collaboration of medical and lay knowledge, acquired through interactions between physicians, families and communities, and filtered through pre-existing understandings and ideas. I have identified a lay understanding and accepted discourse which guided the ideas and actions of friends, family and community in dealing with the problems associated with mental illness among postpartum women.en_US
dc.publisherUniversity of St Andrewsen
dc.rightsCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International*
dc.subject19th centuryen_US
dc.subjectEarly 20th centuryen_US
dc.subjectMental healthen_US
dc.subjectWomen's healthen_US
dc.subjectWomen's healthcareen_US
dc.subjectPostpartum mental healthen_US
dc.subjectPuerperal insanityen_US
dc.subjectChild murderen_US
dc.subjectInstitutional careen_US
dc.subject.lcshWomen--Mental health--Scotland--History--19th centuryen
dc.subject.lcshWomen--Mental health--Scotland--History--20th centuryen
dc.subject.lcshWomen--Institutional care--Scotlanden
dc.subject.lcshPostpartum psychiatric disorders--Scotlanden
dc.subject.lcshMental illness in pregnancyen
dc.subject.lcshMotherhood--Scotland--History--19th centuryen
dc.subject.lcshMotherhood--Scotland--History--20th centuryen
dc.title‘This distressing malady’ : childbirth and mental illness in Scotland 1820 – 1930en_US
dc.contributor.sponsorStrathmartine Trust (Great Britain)en_US
dc.type.qualificationnamePhD Doctor of Philosophyen_US
dc.publisher.institutionThe University of St Andrewsen_US
dc.publisher.departmentInstitute of Scottish Historical Researchen_US

The following licence files are associated with this item:

    This item appears in the following Collection(s)

    Show simple item record

    Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
    Except where otherwise noted within the work, this item's licence for re-use is described as Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International