Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 77 Issue 4 (December 2004), Pages 413-547

Guilt‐ and shame‐proneness and the grief of perinatal bereavement (pages 493-510)

This longitudinal cohort study explored the relationship of guilt‐ and shame‐proneness to grief in women (N= 86) and men (N = 72) 1 month (‘early’) and 13 months (‘late’) after a stillbirth or neonatal death. Hierarchical regression showed that shame‐proneness explained a small but statistically significant proportion of the variance in early grief in women (9%) and men (19%), whereas guilt‐proneness did not contribute further to the variance in early grief. Conversely, shame‐proneness explained a statistically significant and substantial proportion of the variance in late grief in women (27%) and men (56%), and guilt‐proneness made a significant further contribution to the variance in women (21%) and men (11%). Overall, shame‐ and guilt‐proneness explained 45% of the variance in late grief in women and 63% of the variance in men. Moreover, early shame‐proneness predicted late grief in men. Personality guilt‐ and shame‐proneness showed important relationships with late grief in both women and men, but there were notable sex differences.

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