Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 73 Issue 4 (December 2000), Pages 433-567

Couples' grief and experience of support in the aftermath of miscarriage (pages 531-545)

The aim of this prospective study involving 39 women and 32 partners was to investigate the grief response of both the woman and her partner to miscarriage and to ascertain if support received was adequate and appropriate to their needs. Previous research shows that partners' grief can often be delayed and chronic. Special emphasis is placed on this area in this study. The miscarriage was found to be a significant event and the majority of women and partners still experienced feelings of loss up to 4 months afterwards, describing their reactions as sad or very sad. Scores on the first administration of the Perinatal Grief Scale showed that, in contrast with previous findings, partners scored significantly higher than the women on the three subscales and overall. Partners' scores on the second administration were also higher than those for the women but the difference was not significant. The women tended to receive and welcome social support more than the partners. Support received from health professionals was not always optimal, particularly for partners. Pregnancy subsequent to miscarriage was often viewed with some anxiety. It is argued that the results of the study have important implications for health practice.

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