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Death Stud. 2000 Jun;24(4):275-305.

Effects of a program of intervention on parental distress following infant death.

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  • 1University of Queensland, Australia.


A longitudinal study of 144 parents (65 fathers, 79 mothers) was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of a program of intervention in relieving the psychological distress of parents affected by infant death. Participants were assessed in terms of their psychiatric disturbance, depression, anxiety, physical symptoms, dyadic adjustment, and coping strategies. The experimental group (n = 84) was offered an intervention program comprising the use of specially designed resources and contact with a trained grief worker. A control group (n = 60) was given routine community care. Parental reactions were assessed at four to six weeks postloss (prior to the implementation of the intervention program), at six months postloss, and at 15 months postloss. A series of multivariate analyses of variance revealed that the intervention was effective in reducing the distress of parents, particularly those assessed prior to the intervention as being at high-risk of developing mourning difficulties. Effects of the intervention were noted in terms of parents' overall psychiatric disturbance, marital quality, and paternal coping strategies.

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