Losing a child is devastating for parents and grandparents. Family and friends generally focus on comforting and supporting the bereaved parents, unintentionally ignoring the bereaved grandparents. Grandmothers and grandfathers often struggle with wanting to help their adult children (deceased child’s parents) without usurping the parents’ responsibilities and decisions regarding the deceased child. Research on mothers’ and grandmothers’ health at about the same time after the same child’s death in the neonatal or pediatric intensive care unit is lacking. The aim of this study was to compare mothers and grandmothers on physical health, mental health, and functioning in the first 1–6 months after the same child’s death in a neonatal or pediatric intensive care unit.
This cross-sectional secondary analysis compared 32 mothers with 32 grandmothers of the same 32 deceased children (newborn-6 years). Grandmothers were recruited through these 32 mothers. Most grandmothers and mothers were Hispanic (25%, 34%) or Black (44%, 41%), respectively. Mothers and grandmothers separately completed questions about their Physical Health, Mental Health [depression (Beck Depression Inventory), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD, Impact of Events-R), grief (Hogan Grief Reaction Checklist)], and Functioning (social support [MSPSS] and Employment) since the child’s/grandchild’s death. Paired t-tests and Chi Square tests were used to compare grandmothers with mothers of the same deceased infant/child on their private and separate responses to study measures.
Mothers had significantly more acute illnesses than grandmothers. More mothers (63%) than grandmothers (37%) were categorized as clinically depressed. More mothers (69%) than grandmothers (44%) had clinical PTSD. Mothers reported significantly higher levels of despair and detachment than grandmothers. Only 4 mothers and 2 grandmothers were in therapy at the time of interview. Grandmothers and mothers rated their ability to concentrate on their work and their level of social support similarly.
Mothers had more acute illnesses, more severe depression, and a higher level of grief than grandmothers. However, few received therapy despite their high levels of depressive and PTSD symptoms.
Murphy SL, Xu JQ, Kochanek KD, Curtin SC, Arias E. Deaths: Final data for 2015. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2017;66(6):1. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics PubMed
Fontana MS, Farrell C, Gauvin F, Lacroix J, Janvier A. Modes of death in pediatrics: differences in the ethical approach in neonatal and pediatric patients. J Pediatrics. 2013;162(6):1107–11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.12.008. CrossRef
Li J, Hansen D, Mortensen PB, Olsen J. Myocardial infarction in parents who lost a child: a nationwide prospective cohort study in Denmark. Circulation. 2002;106:1634–9. https://doi.org/10.1161/01.CIR.0000031569.45667.58. CrossRefPubMed
Li J, Precht DH, Mortensen PB, Olsen J. Mortality in parents after death of a child in Denmark: a nationwide follow-up study. Lancet. 2003;361:363–7. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(03)12387-2. CrossRefPubMed
Brooten D, Youngblut JM, Caicedo C, del Moral T, Cantwell GP, Totapally B. Parents’ acute illnesses, hospitalizations, and medication changes during the difficult first year after infant or child NICU/PICU death. Am J Hosp Palliat Med. 2018;35(1):75–82. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049909116678597. CrossRef
Dussel V, Bona K, Heath JA, Hilden JM, Weeks JC, Wolfe J. Unmeasured costs of a child’s death: perceived financial burden, work disruptions, and economic coping strategies used by American and Australian families who lost children to cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2011;9(8):1007–13. https://doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2009.27.8960. CrossRef
Harper M, O’Connor R, Dickson A, O’Carroll R. Mothers continuing bonds and ambivalence to personal mortality after the death of their child – an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Psychol Health Med. 2011;16(2):203–14. https://doi.org/10.1080/13548506.2013.811274. CrossRefPubMed
DeFrain JD, Jakuls DK, Mendoza BL. The psychological effects of sudden infant death on grandmothers and grandfathers. Omega. 1991-1992;24:165–83. CrossRef
Fry PS. Grandparents’ reactions to the death of a grandchild: an exploratory factor analytic study. Omega. 1997;35:119–40. CrossRef
Gilrane-McGarry U, O’Grady T. Forgotten grievers: An exploration of the grief experiences of bereaved grandparents (Part 1). Int J Palliat Nurs. 2011;17(4):170–6. https://doi.org/10.12968/ijpn.2011.17.4.170. CrossRefPubMed
Gilrane-McGarry U, O’Grady T. Forgotten grievers: An exploration of the grief experiences of bereaved grandparents (Part 2). Int J Palliat Nurs. 2012;18(4):179–87. https://doi.org/10.12968/ijpn.2012.18.4.179. CrossRefPubMed
Ponzetti JJ, Johnson MA. The forgotten grievers: grandparents’ reactions to the death of grandchildren. Death Stud. 1991;15:157–67. CrossRef
Steele AC, Kaal J, Thompson AL, Barrera M, Compas BE, Davies B, et al. Bereaved parents and siblings offer advice to healthcare providers and researchers. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2013;35(4):253–9. https://doi.org/10.1097/MPH.0b013e31828afe05. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentral
Ponzetti JJ. Bereaved families: a comparison of parents’ and grandparents’ reactions to the death of a child. Omega. 1992;25:63–71. CrossRef
Nehari M, Grebbler D, Toren A. A voice unheard: grandparent’s grief over children who died of cancer. Mortality. 2007;12(1):66–78. CrossRef
Roose RE, Blanford CR. Perinatal grief and support spans the generations: parents’ and grandparents’ evaluations of an intergenerational perinatal bereavement program. J Perinat Neonat Nurs. 2011;25(1):77–85. https://doi.org/10.1097/JPN.0b013e318208cb74. CrossRef
Easthope T. Grandparent grief: nipped in the bud. The Forum. 2003;29:4–5.
Alam R, Barrera M, D’Agostino N, Nicholas DB, Schneiderman G. Bereavement experiences of mothers and fathers over time after the death of a child due to cancer. Death Stud. 2012;36(1):1–22. https://doi.org/10.1080/07481187.2011.553312. CrossRefPubMed
Caeymaex L, Jousselme C, Vasilescu C, Danan C, Falissard B, Bourrat M-M, et al. Perceived role in end-of-life decision making in the NICU affects long-term parental grief response. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2013;98(1):F26–31. https://doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2011-301548. CrossRefPubMed
Youngblut JM, Brooten D, Glaze J, Promise T, Yoo C. Parent grief 1–13 months after death in neonatal and pediatric intensive care units. J Loss Trauma. 2017;22(1):77–96. https://doi.org/10.1080/15325024.2016.1187049. CrossRefPubMed
Dias N, Docherty S, Brandon D. Parental bereavement: Looking beyond grief. Death Stud. 2017;10:1–10. https://doi.org/10.1080/07481187.2017.1279239. [Epub ahead of print] CrossRef
Society for Human Resource Management. Examining paid leave in the workplace. Alexandria, VA: Society for Human Resource Management; 2008.
Sirkia K, Saarinen-Pihkala UM, Hovi L. Coping of parents and siblings with the death of a child with cancer: death after terminal care compared with death during active anticancer therapy. Acta Paediatr. 2000;89:717–21. CrossRef
Beck AT, Steer RA, Brown GK. Manual for the revised Beck depression inventory. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation; 1996.
Weiss DS, Marmar CR. Assessing psychological trauma and PTSD. In: Wilson J, Keane T, editors. The impact of events scale – revised. New York: Guildford; 1997. p. 399–411.
Brody DJ, Pratt LA, Hughes JP. Prevalence of depression among adults aged 20 and over: United States, 2013-2016. NCHS data brief, no 303. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics; 2018.
WebMD: Post-traumatic stress disorder. (2018). https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/post-traumatic-stress-disorder#2-4. Accessed 2 July 2018.
Arnold J, Gemma PB, Cushman LF. Exploring parental grief: combining quantitative and qualitative measures. Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 2005;19(6):245–55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apnu.2005.07.008. CrossRefPubMed
Reed ML. Grandparents cry twice. Amityville, NY: Baywood; 2000.
- Comparison of mothers and grandmothers physical and mental health and functioning within 6 months after child NICU/PICU death
JoAnne M. Youngblut
- BioMed Central
Neu im Fachgebiet Pädiatrie
Meistgelesene Bücher aus dem Fachgebiet