Continuing Bonds Following Stillbirth: Protective and Risk Factors Associated with Parental Bereavement Adaptation

Title

Continuing Bonds Following Stillbirth: Protective and Risk Factors Associated with Parental Bereavement Adaptation

Creator

Jones EE; Crawley R; Brierley-Jones L; Kenny C

Publisher

Journal of Reproductive & Infant Psychology

Date

2023

Subject

Bereavement; Risk Factors

Description

To investigate any association between expressions of parents' continuing bond with their stillborn baby and bereavement adaptation. Continuing bonds theory suggests that bereaved parents adapt to the loss of their child by sharing and transforming mental representations of the child, allowing them to be integrated into parents' everyday lives. Little is known about the mental health benefits of expressing continuing bonds following stillbirth. This study examined any association between aspects of parents' relationship with their stillborn baby, social support for the relationship, and bereavement adaptation. Cross-sectional questionnaire study. Parents of stillborn babies (N=170) completed an online questionnaire examining engagement in continuing bonds expressions; characteristics of parents' relationship with their stillborn baby and their experience of sharing it; social support, and meaning-making. Measures of mental health were included to quantify bereavement adaptation. Regression analyses showed that time since death, meaning-making, engaging with nature, and legacy building are positively linked to bereavement adaptation. Risk factors included inadequate social support for the relationship, a greater desire to share it more freely, an increased sense of integration with baby, and societal pressure to move on. Key aspects of parents' ongoing relationship with their stillborn baby and the social context are related to bereavement adaptation.

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Citation List Month

March List 2023

Collection

Citation

Jones EE; Crawley R; Brierley-Jones L; Kenny C, “Continuing Bonds Following Stillbirth: Protective and Risk Factors Associated with Parental Bereavement Adaptation,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed May 21, 2024, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/18679.