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The relationship between individual differences in repressive styles and grief reaction, coping behaviors, and onset of pathological grief, anxiety, and mood disorders after child loss

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Tomita, T.; Ito, T.; Otsuka, A.; Kawamura, Y.; Katayama, Y.; Muraoka, M.; Miwa, M.; Kitamura, T.; Agari, I.

Examined the relationship between parental repressive styles, grief reaction/post-bereavement coping behavior, and psychiatric symptoms in parents who had lost young children. Ss were 177 parents (mean age 34.5 yrs) who had experienced bereavement of children within the past several yrs in Japan. In Exp 1, Ss were administered a set of questionnaires in order to inquire about grief response, coping behavior, repressive styles, and social support. The results show: (1) that Ss who had high anxiety (sensitizer and repressive-anxiety) showed stronger grief response, whereas those with low anxiety (repressor and low-anxiety) showed weak response; (2) that repressors were more likely to accept death and resolute grief after the loss than others; (3) that those who had higher anxiety were more likely to ruminate after death; and (4) that sensitizers were less likely to satisfy perceived social support. In Exp 2, Ss were interviewed using a semi-structured diagnostic interview schedule to yield diagnoses of the parents based on the Mental Disorders-IV (DSM-IV). The results show that Ss with repressive-anxiety were more likely to manifest pathological grief and that Ss recognized as sensitizers were more likely to have an onset of DSM-IV Major Depression or Social Phobia after the child’s death. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2002 APA, all rights reserved).

Research abstracts