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Psychological impact of perinatal bereavement in different cultures

Background

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).

Results

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

Conclusions

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.

References

  1. 1.

    Herbert M P: Perinatal bereavement in its cultural context. Death Studies. 1998, 22: 61-78. 10.1080/074811898201731.

  2. 2.

    Leon I: The psychoanalytic conceptualization of perinatal loss: A multidimensional model. American Journal of Psychiatry. 1992, 149: 1464-1472.

  3. 3.

    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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Author information

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 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Keywords

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