The psychological impact of transitions
: Exploring the experience of new fathers and sarcoma patients

  • Diarmid Reay

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctorate in Clinical Psychology


Systematic Review: The review aimed to systematically examine and critically evaluate quantitative research investigating psychological distress in people with sarcoma; to describe how psychological distress impacts on sarcoma patients, and to identify socio-demographic, clinical and psycho-social factors that are associated with distress. Databases were systematically searched. The quality of included studies were evaluated using pre-set criteria. Variation between studies did not permit meta-analysis and a narrative synthesis was undertaken. There was a lack of high-quality research examining how psychological distress impacts sarcoma patients across the care pathway. While sarcoma patients report high levels of psychological distress, it was not possible to identify factors which were associated with distress. Recommendations include the need for prospective longitudinal studies to examine the trajectory of distress across the care pathway and to identify risk factors for distress.
Main Project: Valuing and understanding men’s experiences of the transition to fatherhood is integral to developing empathic services which support paternal caregiving. There have been few qualitative studies in the UK which explore men’s experiences of becoming a father and most include predominantly middle-class men. This qualitative focus-group study aimed to explore the experiences of the transition to fatherhood of men living in socio-economically disadvantaged areas of Northern Ireland who attended Sure Start. Five themes were developed from the thematic analysis (1) Being The Invisible Parent (2) Feeling like an Inferior Parent (3) Setting Out Without a Map of Caregiving (4) Reformulating the Early Father-Child Bond (5) Embracing Playful Parenting with Toddlers. The fathers experienced their social environment as unsupportive of their aspirations to become involved fathers and grappled with developing a meaningful identity as a careg. The findings emphasise the important role that perinatal and early years services have in empowering men to become confident, involved fathers.

Thesis is embargoed until 31 December 2023.
Date of AwardDec 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorPauline Adair (Supervisor) & David McCormack (Supervisor)


  • anxiety
  • bone tumour
  • depression
  • patient-reported outcomes
  • psychological distress
  • sarcoma
  • soft-tissue sarcoma
  • caregiving
  • fatherhood
  • father wellbeing
  • involved father
  • psychological adjustment
  • transition

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