Lafarge, Caroline; Mitchell, Kathryn; Fox, Pauline (Taylor and Francis, 2017-01-12)
Background: Research about termination for fetal abnormality (TFA) suggests that it is a traumatic event with potential negative psychological consequences. However, evidence also indicates that following traumatic events individuals may experience growth. Although TFA’s negative psychological outcomes are well documented, little is known of the potential for growth following this event. Therefore, the study’s objectives were to measure posttraumatic growth (PTG) post-TFA, examine the relationship between PTG, perinatal grief and coping, and determine the predictors of PTG. Design: An online, retrospective survey was conducted with 161 women. Methods: Eligible participants were women over 18 who had undergone TFA. Participants were recruited from a support organisation. They completed the Brief COPE, Short Perinatal Grief Scale and Posttraumatic Growth Inventory. Data were analysed using regression analyses. Results: Moderate levels of PTG were observed for “relating to others,” “personal strengths” and “appreciation of life.” “Positive reframing” was a significant predictor of PTG. Despite using mainly “adaptive” coping strategies, women’s grief levels were high. Conclusions: “Adaptive” coping strategies such as, “positive reframing” are relevant to TFA. They may act as protective factors against distress and as foundations for growth, implicating that interventions such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which aim to reframe women’s experience, may be beneficial
Pregnancy termination for fetal abnormality (TFA) can have significant psychological consequences. Most previous research has been focused on measuring the psychological outcomes of TFA, and little is known about the coping strategies involved. In this article, we report on women's coping strategies used during and after the procedure. Our account is based on experiences of 27 women who completed an online survey. We analyzed the data using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Coping comprised four structures, consistent across time points: support, acceptance, avoidance, and meaning attribution. Women mostly used adaptive coping strategies but reported inadequacies in aftercare, which challenged their resources. The study's findings indicate the need to provide sensitive, nondirective care rooted in the acknowledgment of the unique nature of TFA. Enabling women to reciprocate for emotional support, promoting adaptive coping strategies, highlighting the potential value of spending time with the baby, and providing long-term support (including during subsequent pregnancies) might promote psychological adjustment to TFA.
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