Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 55 Issue 2 (June 1982), Pages 109-201

Some marital and child‐rearing characteristics of early mother‐bereaved women (pages 177-186)

A sample of 160 female, psychiatric patients from North‐east Scotland whose mothers died before they were aged 11 was compared with 80 non‐bereaved, female, psychiatric patients, matched by decade of birth, from the same area. Six subgroups of the bereaved patients classified according to the events which followed the bereavement were also examined. In addition, samples of 44 and 27 women from the Chichester general population, whose mothers died before age 11 and from 11 to 19 respectively, were paired by age, parental social class and age at death of father, with Chichester women who were not mother‐bereaved.

Comparisons were made in respect of age at marriage, relative age of subject and marital partner, quality and fate of marriage, delay between marriage and birth of first child, total number of children, and ability to cope with the birth and subsequent child‐rearing. The early bereaved women showed a tendency to marry younger men but otherwise their marriages were no different from those of the controls. The early bereaved had more difficulties with child‐rearing, particularly when their children reached adolescence. Surprisingly, the findings for the six subgroups were not appreciably different from those of the total bereaved patients.

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