Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand the psychosocial impact of perinatal loss on couples in Taiwan who had experienced the event within one year.
Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to describe the factors that were significantly correlated with post-bereavement grief.
To explore the psychosocial impact of perinatal loss on couples in Taiwan who had experienced the event within one year. Further, to identify the effect of various factors—for example, demographic variables, marital relationship, and social support—on the changing grief status of couples.
This study used a longitudinal research design, and thirty couples who experienced miscarriages or stillbirths were recruited by a convenience sampling method at a teaching hospital in southern Taiwan. Data were collected at one month (T1), three months (T2), six months (T3), and one year (T4) after the pregnancy termination using questionnaires, including the Munich Grief Scale, Dyadic Adjustment Scale, and Visual Analog Scale for Social Support. A Generalized Estimating Equation (GEE) accounts for the correlation among repeated observations that were employed for analyzing the changing status of grief and its related factors among the bereaved couples.
Multivariate GEE analysis indicated that time, gender, infertility history, religious belief, the number of living children, marital satisfaction, social support, and ritual were significantly correlated with post-bereavement grief. The extent of couples’ post-bereavement grief was alleviated over the four time points, and women reported a greater extent of grief than their husbands. Couples who had a history of infertility, had no religious beliefs, and had no living children experienced a higher level of grief than other participants. Furthermore, couples reported a greater extent of grief if they had a lower level of marital satisfaction, had less support from their parents-in-law, and had never participated in a ritual for their deceased babies.
Based on the findings of this study, it is recommended that nurses enhance their competency in identifying influencing factors of grief during families’ bereavement periods. Follow-up programs should be provided to high-risk families to facilitate the couples’ healing after the loss of their babies.