The relationship of family cohesion, family adaptability, and time post death to parental bereavement reactions after the death of a child

2.50
Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10755/148487
Type:
Presentation
Title:
The relationship of family cohesion, family adaptability, and time post death to parental bereavement reactions after the death of a child
Abstract:
The relationship of family cohesion, family adaptability, and time post death to parental bereavement reactions after the death of a child
Conference Sponsor:Sigma Theta Tau International
Conference Year:1991
Author:Moriarty, Helene, PhD
P.I. Institution Name:Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Despite the literature's growing recognition of the family as a mediator of stressors, the role of the family relational system in the stressor of bereavement has been ignored in bereavement research. This study aimed to contribute to a family systems perspective of bereavement by examining the role of family system dynamics, specifically family cohesion and family adaptability, in parental bereavement reactions after the death of a child.



The Circumplex Model of Marital and Family Systems (Olson, Sprenkle, and Russell, 1979) was the theoretical framework for this study. Family cohesion signifies the emotional bonding that members have towards one another. Family adaptability signifies the ability of a marital or family system to change its power structure, role relationships, and relationship rules in response to situational or developmental stress. Family theorists from a variety of social science disciplines have deemed these concepts or closely related ones as critical for understanding and treating family systems.



The research also investigated another correlate of bereavement reactions--time postdeath. Although the adage that "Time heals" after a loss intuitively appears reasonable, it remains to be established in the situation of parental bereavement.



The sample consisted of 135 parents, representing 76 families, randomly selected from the population of families in the Philadelphia five-county area who had experienced the sudden, unexpected death of a child under age two. The length of time since the death ranged from 2 weeks to 2 years. The sample was heterogeneous and appeared representative of the total population.



Parents were broadly defined as the "working" parental unit--the significant parents to the child who has died in order to allow for the diversity in family forms, particularly in poor, minority, and urban families. Measures were obtained from two parents per family, except in the case of 17 single-parent families. In the home, each parent completed the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales III (measuring parents' perception of family cohesion and adaptability), the Symptom Checklist-90-R (measuring distress from parental bereavement reactions), and a Parent Questionnaire (eliciting demographic/situational variables). Parents also completed the Bereavement Health Assessment Scale and participated in a Family Interview, two instruments which will be used in future research efforts.



When compared to three norm groups for the SCL-90-R (psychiatric outpatient, psychiatric inpatient, and nonpatient), this sample was closer to the clinical samples in terms of its high level of distress. There was no significant linear or curvilinear relationship between family cohesion and the severity of parental bereavement reactions, or between family adaptability and the severity of parental reactions. These findings refute the Circumplex theory--that moderate cohesion and adaptability are related to better functioning than are extreme levels. Time postdeath was initially found to have a significant negative relationship with bereavement reactions in the Parent One group (96% mothers and 4% sole caretakers). However, it was no longer a significant predictor after a control set--number of surviving children and the presence of a subsequent child born after the death--was entered in hierarchical regression. Time postdeath was not related to bereavement reactions in the Parent Two group (85% fathers and 15% other parenting figures).



Auxiliary analyses revealed significant demographic/situational correlates of bereavement reactions: number of surviving children and the presence of a subsequent child were negatively associated with Parent One reactions, and number of surviving children and education were negatively associated with Parent Two reactions.



The results suggest that the Circumplex theory can not be extended to families who have experienced a severe stressor. They also suggest that traditional theories of bereavement, claiming a linear decline in bereavement reactions with time and recovery within one year, are not valid in parental bereavement. Parental bereavement reactions in this sample are more intense and last longer than currently recognized by professionals and the community. These data indicate that bereaved parents and their families are high risk groups that warrant early nursing assessment and long-term intervention.
Repository Posting Date:
26-Oct-2011
Date of Publication:
17-Oct-2011
Sponsors:
Sigma Theta Tau International

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.typePresentationen_GB
dc.titleThe relationship of family cohesion, family adaptability, and time post death to parental bereavement reactions after the death of a childen_GB
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10755/148487-
dc.description.abstract<table><tr><td colspan="2" class="item-title">The relationship of family cohesion, family adaptability, and time post death to parental bereavement reactions after the death of a child</td></tr><tr class="item-sponsor"><td class="label">Conference Sponsor:</td><td class="value">Sigma Theta Tau International</td></tr><tr class="item-year"><td class="label">Conference Year:</td><td class="value">1991</td></tr><tr class="item-author"><td class="label">Author:</td><td class="value">Moriarty, Helene, PhD</td></tr><tr class="item-institute"><td class="label">P.I. Institution Name:</td><td class="value">Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center</td></tr><tr class="item-email"><td class="label">Email:</td><td class="value">moriarty.helene-j@philadelphia</td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" class="item-abstract">Despite the literature's growing recognition of the family as a mediator of stressors, the role of the family relational system in the stressor of bereavement has been ignored in bereavement research. This study aimed to contribute to a family systems perspective of bereavement by examining the role of family system dynamics, specifically family cohesion and family adaptability, in parental bereavement reactions after the death of a child.<br/><br/><br/><br/>The Circumplex Model of Marital and Family Systems (Olson, Sprenkle, and Russell, 1979) was the theoretical framework for this study. Family cohesion signifies the emotional bonding that members have towards one another. Family adaptability signifies the ability of a marital or family system to change its power structure, role relationships, and relationship rules in response to situational or developmental stress. Family theorists from a variety of social science disciplines have deemed these concepts or closely related ones as critical for understanding and treating family systems.<br/><br/><br/><br/>The research also investigated another correlate of bereavement reactions--time postdeath. Although the adage that &quot;Time heals&quot; after a loss intuitively appears reasonable, it remains to be established in the situation of parental bereavement.<br/><br/><br/><br/>The sample consisted of 135 parents, representing 76 families, randomly selected from the population of families in the Philadelphia five-county area who had experienced the sudden, unexpected death of a child under age two. The length of time since the death ranged from 2 weeks to 2 years. The sample was heterogeneous and appeared representative of the total population.<br/><br/><br/><br/>Parents were broadly defined as the &quot;working&quot; parental unit--the significant parents to the child who has died in order to allow for the diversity in family forms, particularly in poor, minority, and urban families. Measures were obtained from two parents per family, except in the case of 17 single-parent families. In the home, each parent completed the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales III (measuring parents' perception of family cohesion and adaptability), the Symptom Checklist-90-R (measuring distress from parental bereavement reactions), and a Parent Questionnaire (eliciting demographic/situational variables). Parents also completed the Bereavement Health Assessment Scale and participated in a Family Interview, two instruments which will be used in future research efforts.<br/><br/><br/><br/>When compared to three norm groups for the SCL-90-R (psychiatric outpatient, psychiatric inpatient, and nonpatient), this sample was closer to the clinical samples in terms of its high level of distress. There was no significant linear or curvilinear relationship between family cohesion and the severity of parental bereavement reactions, or between family adaptability and the severity of parental reactions. These findings refute the Circumplex theory--that moderate cohesion and adaptability are related to better functioning than are extreme levels. Time postdeath was initially found to have a significant negative relationship with bereavement reactions in the Parent One group (96% mothers and 4% sole caretakers). However, it was no longer a significant predictor after a control set--number of surviving children and the presence of a subsequent child born after the death--was entered in hierarchical regression. Time postdeath was not related to bereavement reactions in the Parent Two group (85% fathers and 15% other parenting figures).<br/><br/><br/><br/>Auxiliary analyses revealed significant demographic/situational correlates of bereavement reactions: number of surviving children and the presence of a subsequent child were negatively associated with Parent One reactions, and number of surviving children and education were negatively associated with Parent Two reactions.<br/><br/><br/><br/>The results suggest that the Circumplex theory can not be extended to families who have experienced a severe stressor. They also suggest that traditional theories of bereavement, claiming a linear decline in bereavement reactions with time and recovery within one year, are not valid in parental bereavement. Parental bereavement reactions in this sample are more intense and last longer than currently recognized by professionals and the community. These data indicate that bereaved parents and their families are high risk groups that warrant early nursing assessment and long-term intervention.</td></tr></table>en_GB
dc.date.available2011-10-26T09:45:53Z-
dc.date.issued2011-10-17en_GB
dc.date.accessioned2011-10-26T09:45:53Z-
dc.description.sponsorshipSigma Theta Tau Internationalen_GB
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