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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Women's Health 1/2018

A qualitative study on coping behaviors and influencing factors among mothers in Japan raising children under three years old while experiencing physical and mental subjective symptoms

BMC Women's Health > Ausgabe 1/2018
Misato Kaso, Kikuko Miyazaki, Takeo Nakayama
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12905-017-0494-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



No studies illustrating the coping behaviors of mothers experiencing physical and mental subjective symptoms, or the factors that contribute to these behaviors, have been investigated. Therefore, the present study sought to develop a conceptual framework on the coping behaviors and contributing factors of mothers experiencing physical and mental subjective symptoms.


This qualitative study involved theoretical sampling and semi-structured interviews of mothers who were raising children under 3 years of age in Japan and had experienced physical and mental subjective symptoms since giving birth. Women who were pregnant, required regular medical exams, or had difficulty communicating in Japanese were excluded. All mothers were recruited via personal contacts, snowball sampling, and posters at a community center and nursery schools. Analysis was conducted using the constant comparative method. The interview data were extracted in contextual units based on analytical themes, and concepts were generated. Relationships between concepts were investigated and categorized. To confirm theoretical saturation and ensure the validity of the data, a study supervisor was appointed, four qualitative researchers examined the results, and the interview respondents underwent member checking.


There were a total of 21 participants. Thirteen categories were created from 29 concepts identified from the analytical theme “What do mothers do when raising children under 3 years of age while experiencing physical and mental subjective symptoms?” While experiencing subjective symptoms, mothers raising children under 3 years of age tended to lead a child-centric lifestyle and were hesitant to visit the doctor, not only because of typical reasons such as time and costs, but also because of factors related to their child. Some circumstances occurring while experiencing physical and mental subjective symptoms led mothers to put their own needs first and attempt to cope on their own as much as possible. As a result, most mothers would only visit a doctor after becoming seriously ill.


Mothers raising children under 3 years of age in Japan tend to put their own needs on hold when experiencing subjective symptoms. As a result, they attempt to cope on their own and, at times, only visit a doctor after becoming seriously ill.
Additional file 1: Consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative studies (COREQ): 32-item checklist [ 22]. This data is to ensure our manuscript adheres to COREQ guidelines for reporting qualitative studies. (DOCX 128 kb)
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