Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

Skip to Search

Skip to Navigation

Volume 79 Issue 1 (March 2006), Pages 1-149

Remembered parenting style and psychological well‐being in young adults whose parents had experienced early child loss (pages 69-81)

Background. Pre‐, peri‐, or postnatal childloss can have devastating consequences for bereaved families. This study explored the long‐term sequelae of these experiences for the young adult siblings' psychological well‐being and the perceived quality of parenting received during participants' first 16 years of life.

Methods. A bereaved group of young adult sibilings was compared to a non‐bereaved group on the Parent Bonding Instrument, the Rosenberg Self‐esteem Scale and the Mental Health Index‐5.

Results. The loss group reported their mothers, but not their fathers, to have been more protective/controlling than non‐bereaved participants. No differences between the loss group and the comparison group were found for parental care, their own mental health or self‐esteem. Those participants whose siblings died during the peri/post‐natal period perceived their parents as more controlling than the miscarriage group as well as the non‐bereaved group. Higher protection scores were evident among those born subsequent to the loss than those who were born before. Lower levels of protection were associated with better mental health across all groups. In the non‐bereaved group lower levels of protection were associated with better self‐esteem, but in the bereaved group a different even opposite pattern was shown.

Conclusions. Young adults who lost a sibling when they themselves were under 5 recall their mothers as more protective/controlling than non‐bereaved groups, although they do not report less care nor differ in mental health nor self‐esteem. Higher levels of parental protection/control were found where the child was born subsequent to loss and for peri/post‐natal loss rather than miscarriage. While high protection was associated with poorer mental health regardless of loss this may not be necessarily disadvantageous to the child's self‐esteem. Differences with regard to parent gender were found.

Add This link

Bookmark and Share>