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Br J Med Psychol. 1996 Mar;69 ( Pt 1):47-58.

The influence of psychological debriefing on emotional adaptation in women following early miscarriage: a preliminary study.

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Barnsley Community and Priority Services NHS Trust, UK.


About a fifth of pregnancies end in miscarriage, leading to emotional consequences, such as anxiety and depression, which may last for a number of months. Despite this, women are not routinely provided with follow-up care. Anecdotal evidence suggests that follow-up focusing on emotional experiences may have beneficial effects. This study tests the hypothesis that the psychological debriefing process has a positive influence on emotional adaptation. Women were assessed, using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and Impact of Events Scale, at one week and four months post-miscarriage. Half the women also received psychological debriefing at two weeks. Intrusion and avoidance scores were initially as high as those of post-trauma victims, but had significantly decreased by four months. Depression was not detected at any time point, but anxiety was significantly higher than community sample estimates at one week and four months. Psychological debriefing was perceived to be helpful, but did not influence emotional adaptation. A number of hypotheses are provided to explain these results. Outcome scores at one week significantly predicted outcome at four months, suggesting that early assessment would be important in determining which women should be offered intervention.

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