Grief Intensity, Psychological Well-Being, and the Intimate Partner Relationship in the Subsequent Pregnancy after a Perinatal Loss

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Abstract

Objective:

To examine the construct validity of the Perinatal Grief Intensity Scale (PGIS) and the associations of grief intensity with psychological well-being and the quality of intimate partner relationships of women in the subsequent pregnancy after perinatal loss. The consequences of intense grief due to perinatal loss may include significant couple relationship issues, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress that may extend into the subsequent healthy pregnancy.

Design and Setting:

A correlational, descriptive research design was used to collect survey data in this cross-sectional, web-based study.

Participants:

Participants were 227 currently pregnant women who experienced perinatal loss in their immediate past pregnancies.

Methods:

Instruments included the Pregnancy Outcome Questionnaire (pregnancy-specific anxiety), Impact of Event Scale (post-traumatic stress), Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale (depression symptoms), the Autonomy and Relatedness Inventory (quality of the intimate partner relationship), and the Perinatal Grief Intensity Scale (perinatal grief intensity).

Results:

As hypothesized, greater grief intensity was associated with higher pregnancy-specific anxiety, depression symptoms, and post-traumatic stress as well as poorer quality of the intimate partner relationship.

Conclusions:

Support for the construct validity of the PGIS was demonstrated by its significant associations in the expected directions with pregnancy-specific anxiety, depression symptoms, post-traumatic stress, and the quality of the intimate partner relationship. The scale may be useful to health care providers in identifying mothers in need of follow-up for intense grief and other clinically relevant symptoms after perinatal loss.

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