Toward a Contextualized Understanding of Well-being in the Midwifery Profession: An Integrative Review
Our integrative review synthesizes and evaluates two decades of empirical research on well-being in the midwifery profession to reveal (1) how researchers have studied midwives’ well-being; (2) key findings of research on midwives’ well-being; (3) underlying assumptions of this research; and (4) limitations of this research. We find that research on midwives’ well-being is disproportionately focused on individual midwives, who are assumed to be largely responsible for their own well-being, and that well-being in the midwifery profession is generally equated with the absence of mental health problems such as burnout, anxiety, and stress. Researchers have largely taken a narrow and instrumental approach to study midwives’ well-being, focusing on work-related antecedents and consequences, and overlooking the influence of nonwork factors embedded in the broader socioeconomic and cultural environment. Drawing on more comprehensive and contextualized well-being frameworks, we propose a research model that (1) expands the well-being construct as it applies to midwives and (2) situates midwives’ well-being in broader social, economic, political, and cultural contexts. Although developed in the midwifery context, our proposed research model can be applied to a host of professions.