Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 61 Issue 3 (September 1988), Pages 209-304

Predicting adjustment to perinatal death (pages 237-244)

One hundred and thirty parents who had experienced a perinatal death completed a self‐administered questionnaire that examined the demographic characteristics of parents, factors associated with the loss, and their levels of satisfaction with the amount of support they received. In addition, they completed scales measuring current levels of depression, self‐esteem and psychological well‐being. Comparisons with available norms revealed that, while parents were more depressed than general members of the community, they showed fewer symptoms of depression than did depressed patients. In addition, results revealed that less depressed parents were more satisfied with the level of support and comfort they received from doctors and nurses after the loss of their infant. Greater satisfaction with the support from hospital staff also predicted higher levels of self‐esteem, as did being satisfied with opportunities to be with the baby. Being more pleased with support from hospital staff and partners also predicted higher levels of psychological well‐being. Parents who reported higher well‐being were more likely to have experienced a neonatal death, and were satisfied with the opportunities they had had to create special memories of their baby. In the case of happier parents more time had elapsed since the loss of the child.

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