Recovering from stillbirth: the effects of making and sharing memories on maternal mental health

Crawley, Rosalind, Lomax, S and Ayers, S (2013) Recovering from stillbirth: the effects of making and sharing memories on maternal mental health. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 31 (2). pp. 195-207. ISSN 0264-6838

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Abstract

Objective: This study examined whether the experience of creating and sharing memories of their babies is associated with mothers’ mental health after stillbirth, taking account of factors previously shown to be important. Background: Mothers of stillborn babies are usually offered the opportunity to spend time with and create memories of their babies. However, evidence on whether this leads to better mental health outcomes is equivocal. One possible explanation is that the impact of making memories is mediated by the extent to which women subsequently share these memories. Methods: Cross-sectional questionnaire study. Mothers (N = 162) of stillborn babies completed online questionnaires of how memories were made and shared, satisfaction with memory-making and sharing, professional and social support, and symptoms of depression, anxiety and PTSD. Results: The majority of mothers made and shared memories. The number of different memory-making activities was not associated with mental health outcomes. However, the degree to which mothers shared their memories was associated with fewer PTSD symptoms. Regression analyses showed that good mental health was most strongly associated with time since stillbirth, perceived professional support, sharing of memories and less wish to talk more about the baby. Conclusion: This study confirms research showing that time since stillbirth and perceived professional support is associated with better mental health following stillbirth and for the first time shows the importance of opportunities to share memories of the baby. Variation in sharing opportunities may contribute to inconsistencies in the association between making memories and mental health following stillbirth.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, May 2013, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/02646838.2013.795216.
Subjects: Psychology > Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Applied Sciences
Faculty of Applied Sciences > Department of Psychology
Health Sciences and Wellbeing Beacon
Health Sciences and Wellbeing Beacon > Health Improvement and Wellbeing Workstream
Depositing User: Glenda Young
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2013 11:06
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2017 18:34
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/3461

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