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Psychological impact of perinatal bereavement in different cultures


Perinatal death includes stillbirth and neonatal death and comes as a shock for the parents, family and medical staff since it is always an unexpected death.

The aim of this study was to explore the feelings this event creates, the social implications which might arise and the role of the cultural parameters which influence the procedure of mourning.

Materials and methods

Our data comes from the Psychotherapy Unit of the Psychiatric department in the AHEPA University General Hospital (Thessaloniki, Greece) where 28 cases have been seen during 2003 -2006, and after an assessment they have been offered psychodynamic psychotherapy (individual, couple or family).


All women presented depression and anxiety disorders. Fathers presented great distress (67%) and sexual dysfunction (58%). Children showed regressive phenomena.


Social factors and cultural parameters involving with the tragic event play a major role in the mourning processes. Religion and personal beliefs influence the bereavement period and have a catalytic impact on the psychological situation of the couple, relatives and the medical environment.


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    Uren T H, Wastell C A: Attachment and meaning-making in perinatal bereavement. Death Studies. 2002, 26: 279-308. 10.1080/074811802753594682.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ioanna Ierodiakonou – Benou.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Ierodiakonou – Benou, I., Kaprinis, S., Sokolaki, S. et al. Psychological impact of perinatal bereavement in different cultures. Ann Gen Psychiatry 7, S189 (2008).

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  • Anxiety Disorder
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Neonatal Death
  • Psychological Impact
  • Personal Belief