Middle Range Theory of Traumatic Childbirth: The Ever Widening Ripple Effect

Contributor: Cheryl Beck
August 29, 2018

Author – Cheryl Tatano Beck, DNSc, CNM, FAAN

Year First Published – 2015
Major Concepts

Published open access; Used by permission of author

Typology – Middle Range Theory
Article Abstract:

“A middle range theory of traumatic childbirth was developed using Morse’s method of theoretical coalescence. The scope of this qualitative theory was increased by formalizing the connections between 14 individual studies all conducted by the same researcher on the same topic, with different groups, using different research designs and different types of analyses. Axioms were derived from this research program along with attributes of traumatic childbirth, posttraumatic stress, and secondary traumatic stress. This middle range theory addresses the long-term chronic consequences of a traumatic birth for mothers including its impact on breastfeeding, subsequent childbirth, and the anniversary of birth trauma. The impact on fathers and clinicians present at the traumatic birth is highlighted as secondary traumatic stress comes into play. Troubling glimpses of difficulties in mother–infant bonding are revealed.” (p. 1)

Primary Source

Beck, C. T. (2015). Middle range theory of traumatic childbirth: The ever –widening ripple effect. Global Qualitative Nursing Research, 1-13, DOI: 10.1177/2333393615575313. Also see Open Access PDF


Cheryl Tatano Beck

Dr. Beck is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Connecticut, School of Nursing. She also has a joint appointment in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the School of Medicine. She received her Master’s degree in maternal-newborn nursing and also her certificate in nurse-midwifery from Yale University. Her Doctor of Nursing Science degree is from Boston University. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. Over the past 30 years Cheryl has focused her research efforts on developing a research program on postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. She is a prolific writer who has published over 150 journal articles. She also has published multiple American Journal of Nursing Books of the Year such as Nursing Research: Generating and Assessing Evidence for Nursing Practice of which is a co-author with Dr. Denise Polit.

Other notable works:

Beck, C. T. (2016). Developing a Program of Research in Nursing. New York: Springer Publishing Company.

Long, T. & Beck CT (2017). Writing in nursing: A brief guide. New York: Oxford University Press.

Beck, C. T., Driscoll, J. W., & Watson, S. (2013). Traumatic childbirth. New York: Routledge. Beck, C.T. (Ed.) (2013). Routledge International Handbook of Qualitative Nursing Research. New York: Routledge.

Beck, C.T. & Driscoll, J.W. (2006). Postpartum mood and anxiety disorders: A clinician’s guide. Sudbury, Ma.: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Polit, D. F., & Beck, C.T. (2018). Essentials of Nursing Research: Appraising Evidence for Nursing Practice. (9th Ed). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams, & Wilkins. Polit, D. F., &

Beck, C.T. (2017). Nursing Research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice (10th Ed). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.