Couple distress after sudden infant or perinatal death: A 30-month follow up
Article first published online: 1 OCT 2002
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Volume 38, Issue 4, pages 368–372, August 2002
How to Cite
Vance, J., Boyle, F., Najman, J. and Thearle, M. (2002), Couple distress after sudden infant or perinatal death: A 30-month follow up. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 38: 368–372. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1754.2002.00008.x
- Issue published online: 1 OCT 2002
- Article first published online: 1 OCT 2002
- Accepted for publication 24 October 2001.
- marital satisfaction;
- perinatal death;
- sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Objective: To examine, using a 30-month prospective study, patterns of anxiety, depression and alcohol use in couples following stillbirth, neonatal death or sudden infant death syndrome.
Methodology: One hundred and thirty-eight bereaved and 156 non-bereaved couples completed standardized interviews at 2, 8, 15 and 30 months post-loss.
Results: At all interviews, bereaved couples were significantly more likely than non-bereaved couples to have at least one distressed partner. Rarely were both partners distressed in either group. For bereaved couples, ‘mother only’ distress declined from 21% to 10% during the study. ‘Father only’ distress ranged from 7% to 15%, peaking at 30 months. Bereaved mothers who were distressed at 2 months reported significantly lower marital satisfaction at 30 months.
Conclusions: At the couple level, the experience of a baby's death is multifaceted. Gender differences are common and partners’ needs may change over time. Early recognition of these differences may facilitate longer-term adjustment for both partners.