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Psychological changes in parents eight months after the loss of an infant from stillbirth, neonatal death, or sudden infant death syndrome--a longitudinal study.
Pediatrics 1995; 96(5 Pt 1):933-8Ped

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

We proposed to measure part of the natural history of grief by determining the changes in the psychological symptoms experienced by bereaved parents over the 8 months after the loss of an infant from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), neonatal death (NND), or stillbirth (SB). Parents were interviewed twice, at 2 and 8 months after the loss.

METHODOLOGY

A total of 220 bereaved families (45 SIDS, 93 NND, and 82 SB) were compared with 226 control families who had a live born child. Comparison was based on responses to a standardized measure of anxiety and depression (Delusions-Symptoms-States Inventory).

RESULTS

For separate cross-sectional comparison at both 2 and 8 months, significant differences were noted in the frequency of maternal symptoms of anxiety and depression between bereaved and control groups (P < .001). Such differences were present for paternal anxiety and depression at 2 months, but not 8 months. A second series of analysis examined longitudinal changes in symptom frequency between 2 and 8 months for each bereaved group. For mothers, the changes were significant for anxiety and depression: SIDS and NND (P < .001), SB (P < .01). For fathers, the changes for anxiety and depression in SIDS were P < .01; NND, P < .05 for anxiety and P < .01 per depression; changes were not significant for SB. At 2 months, relative risks for symptoms of maternal anxiety were significant for all three bereaved groups: SIDS, 22.4; NND, 5.4; and SB, 5.1. Comparable significant figures at 8 months were: SIDS, 5.5; NND, 3.9; and SB, 3.0, respectively. For depression the results for 2 months were: SIDS, 8.6; NND, 5.9; and SB, 6.7 (all significant) while at 8 months the results were: SIDS, 5.1; NND, 3.8; and SB, 2.4 (SB group not significant). For fathers the relevant risks were generally lower. At 2 months, anxiety levels were higher than controls in all three groups, and for depression in the SIDS and SB groups. At 8 months, significant results persisted only in the SB group.

CONCLUSION

These data indicate that bereaved parents have a marked reduction in the symptoms of mental illness over the first 8 months after the loss. Although the changes over time are significant for both mothers and fathers, mothers at 8 months still demonstrated higher levels of anxiety and depression when compared with controls. These levels of symptoms are far less evident for fathers at 8 months.

Authors+Show Affiliations

University of Queensland, Department of Child Health, Mater Children's Hospital, Brisbane, Australia.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Comparative Study
Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

7478838

Citation

Vance, J C., et al. "Psychological Changes in Parents Eight Months After the Loss of an Infant From Stillbirth, Neonatal Death, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome--a Longitudinal Study." Pediatrics, vol. 96, no. 5 Pt 1, 1995, pp. 933-8.
Vance JC, Najman JM, Thearle MJ, et al. Psychological changes in parents eight months after the loss of an infant from stillbirth, neonatal death, or sudden infant death syndrome--a longitudinal study. Pediatrics. 1995;96(5 Pt 1):933-8.
Vance, J. C., Najman, J. M., Thearle, M. J., Embelton, G., Foster, W. J., & Boyle, F. M. (1995). Psychological changes in parents eight months after the loss of an infant from stillbirth, neonatal death, or sudden infant death syndrome--a longitudinal study. Pediatrics, 96(5 Pt 1), pp. 933-8.
Vance JC, et al. Psychological Changes in Parents Eight Months After the Loss of an Infant From Stillbirth, Neonatal Death, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome--a Longitudinal Study. Pediatrics. 1995;96(5 Pt 1):933-8. PubMed PMID: 7478838.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Psychological changes in parents eight months after the loss of an infant from stillbirth, neonatal death, or sudden infant death syndrome--a longitudinal study. AU - Vance,J C, AU - Najman,J M, AU - Thearle,M J, AU - Embelton,G, AU - Foster,W J, AU - Boyle,F M, PY - 1995/11/1/pubmed PY - 1995/11/1/medline PY - 1995/11/1/entrez SP - 933 EP - 8 JF - Pediatrics JO - Pediatrics VL - 96 IS - 5 Pt 1 N2 - OBJECTIVE: We proposed to measure part of the natural history of grief by determining the changes in the psychological symptoms experienced by bereaved parents over the 8 months after the loss of an infant from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), neonatal death (NND), or stillbirth (SB). Parents were interviewed twice, at 2 and 8 months after the loss. METHODOLOGY: A total of 220 bereaved families (45 SIDS, 93 NND, and 82 SB) were compared with 226 control families who had a live born child. Comparison was based on responses to a standardized measure of anxiety and depression (Delusions-Symptoms-States Inventory). RESULTS: For separate cross-sectional comparison at both 2 and 8 months, significant differences were noted in the frequency of maternal symptoms of anxiety and depression between bereaved and control groups (P < .001). Such differences were present for paternal anxiety and depression at 2 months, but not 8 months. A second series of analysis examined longitudinal changes in symptom frequency between 2 and 8 months for each bereaved group. For mothers, the changes were significant for anxiety and depression: SIDS and NND (P < .001), SB (P < .01). For fathers, the changes for anxiety and depression in SIDS were P < .01; NND, P < .05 for anxiety and P < .01 per depression; changes were not significant for SB. At 2 months, relative risks for symptoms of maternal anxiety were significant for all three bereaved groups: SIDS, 22.4; NND, 5.4; and SB, 5.1. Comparable significant figures at 8 months were: SIDS, 5.5; NND, 3.9; and SB, 3.0, respectively. For depression the results for 2 months were: SIDS, 8.6; NND, 5.9; and SB, 6.7 (all significant) while at 8 months the results were: SIDS, 5.1; NND, 3.8; and SB, 2.4 (SB group not significant). For fathers the relevant risks were generally lower. At 2 months, anxiety levels were higher than controls in all three groups, and for depression in the SIDS and SB groups. At 8 months, significant results persisted only in the SB group. CONCLUSION: These data indicate that bereaved parents have a marked reduction in the symptoms of mental illness over the first 8 months after the loss. Although the changes over time are significant for both mothers and fathers, mothers at 8 months still demonstrated higher levels of anxiety and depression when compared with controls. These levels of symptoms are far less evident for fathers at 8 months. SN - 0031-4005 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/7478838/Psychological_changes_in_parents_eight_months_after_the_loss_of_an_infant_from_stillbirth_neonatal_death_or_sudden_infant_death_syndrome__a_longitudinal_study_ L2 - http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&amp;pmid=7478838 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -