Date of Conferral







Kimberley Cox


Prior research on maternal postpartum care, the transition to motherhood, pelvic floor dysfunction, and pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) has revealed that postpartum women are often denied the basic information, instruction, and preventive strategies necessary for optimal postbirth rehabilitation and psychological well-being. Employing a dual framework of self-determination theory and personal growth initiative (PGI) theory, this quantitative study utilized a cross-sectional design to investigate if autonomy, competence, and relatedness satisfaction predicted PGI in postpartum women. Differences in autonomy, competence, relatedness, and PGI between PFMT practicing and nonpracticing postpartum women were also examined. A web-based survey method was employed to collect data from 229 postpartum women, which consisted of 121 women not practicing PFMT and 108 women practicing PFMT. The Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scale measured autonomy, competence, and relatedness. The PGI Scale-II measured PGI. Standard multiple regression and 4 independent-samples t tests were used to analyze the data. Results indicated that autonomy, competence, and relatedness predicted PGI. There were no significant mean differences between PFMT practicing and nonpracticing women. These findings have implications for positive social change such that the medical community and policy makers can utilize the fulfillment of postpartum women's needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness to improve women's odds for optimal adjustment and adaptation to life after childbirth.