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An Exploratory Study of the Psychological Impact and Clinical Care of Perinatal Loss

Bennett S, Litz B, Maguen S, Ehrenreich J. An Exploratory Study of the Psychological Impact and Clinical Care of Perinatal Loss. Journal of loss & trauma. 2008 Nov 1; 13(6):485-510.

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Perinatal loss is a unique and potentially traumatizing experience that can leave bereaved parents struggling with a host of mental health difficulties. In this exploratory study of the predictors and mental health outcomes associated with perinatal loss, we examined a cohort of women who experienced a perinatal loss within the previous 5 years. Results suggest perinatal loss is associated with considerable distress and impairment for some women, with greater severity primarily predicted by maladaptive coping skills, low social support, and intense emotionality following the loss. The majority of women in this sample were satisfied with the care they received in the hospital after their loss, including their engagement in reportedly contentious bereavement rituals in the medical setting. Limitations of this research are noted, and suggestions for future research and clinical care are provided.

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