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Perceived causal attributions and their relationship to grief intensity in early miscarriage McCall, Marsha Joan


Grief and causal attribution are two of the most commonly observed reactions to early miscarriage, yet little is known about these reactions or whether a relationship exists between them. This exploratory and descriptive correlational study examined the maternal grief intensities, the causal attributions, and the relationship between them in a convenience sample of 15 women who spontaneously aborted at 16 weeks' or less gestation. Women responded to both a written questionnaire and a semi-structured Interview at 6 to 10 weeks post-miscarriage. Their responses Indicated both current and retrospective reactions to their miscarriages. Responses were analysed using nonparametric statistics and content analysis. Maternal grief Intensities were found to vary widely at the time of the miscarriage, but all decreased significantly 6 to 10 weeks later. All women reacted to their miscarriage with attribution-seeking behaviors. The explanations most women formed were comprised of more than one causal attribution. Attributions were observed to have four distinct characteristics. Causal attributions were found to be either philosophical or physically oriented; to be organic, non-specific or maternal/self-blaming In origin; to be either dominant or non-dominant, and/or to refer to causalities immediate or prior to the physical event. At the time of the miscarriage a positive correlation between grief Intensity and maternal/self-blaming attributions and between grief Intensity and philosophical attributions was found. These relationships were not observed 6 to 10 weeks later. A positive correlation was found between grief intensity and attributions to maternal emotions at both the time of the miscarriage and 6 to 10 weeks later.

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