Loneliness in pregnant and postpartum people and parents of children aged five years or younger: a scoping review protocol
BackgroundThe experience of loneliness during pregnancy and in new parenthood has not been targeted and developed as a program of research, despite evidence indicating that the incidence of loneliness is highest in those aged 16 to 24, and that loneliness rises during transitional periods. The scarcity of parenthood-loneliness inquiries leaves a gap in our understanding of new parenthood and its effects on the health and well-being of parents and their children. Here, a scoping review protocol
... ng review protocol will be presented to address this gap. The objective of this study will be to summarize the current knowledge on loneliness experienced during pregnancy and by parents during the postpartum period through the first five years of the child's life.MethodsA scoping review protocol was designed following Arksey and O'Malley's framework. We will include all types of literature in English, including all study designs, reviews, opinion articles, dissertations, reports, books, and grey literature. To be considered for inclusion, sources should focus on loneliness in pregnant persons, postpartum people, and parents of children five years or younger. We will search the following electronic databases (from inception onwards): MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL Complete, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, Dissertations & Theses Global, Sociological Abstracts, Scopus, and Web of Science. Grey literature will be identified searching the British governmental website gov.uk, the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, the Campaign to End Loneliness, and the British Red Cross's Action on Loneliness websites. Two reviewers, working independently of each other, will screen the titles and abstracts of the articles returned by the searches, then screen the selected full-text articles, and extract data. A third reviewer will cast the deciding vote in case no consensus is reached. Results will be given in narrative form, mapped, and illustrated.DiscussionThis scoping review will capture the state of the current literature on loneliness in pregnancy and new parenthood. Results will be published in a peer-reviewed journal. We anticipate that the study will identify gaps and make recommendations for future areas of study and related interventions. The protocol is available on Open Science Framework at DOI 10.17605/OSF.IO/BFVPZ.