Negative self-conscious emotion and grief: an actor-partner analysis in couples bereaved by stillbirth or neonatal death.

Research paper by Peter P Barr

Indexed on: 21 Aug '12Published on: 21 Aug '12Published in: Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice


The purpose of the present study was to examine the intrapersonal (actor) and interpersonal (partner) relationships of personality proneness to negative self-conscious emotion (shame and guilt) to grief in couples 13 months after a perinatal death.A cohort study using self-report questionnaire measures of grief, shame, and guilt.The participants were 63 Australian couples bereaved by stillbirth (N= 31) or neonatal death (N= 32). The actor and partner relationships of chronic shame (Personal Feelings Questionnaire-2), situational shame (Test of Self-Conscious Affect-2), and survivor guilt and omnipotence guilt (Interpersonal Guilt Questionnaire-67) to grief (Perinatal Grief Scale-33) were explored using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM) method of dyadic analysis.The correlations between the self-conscious emotions and grief were invariably larger in men compared with women. Chronic shame had a significant actor relationship with grief in women and men and a non-significant partner relationship in both sexes. Situational shame and survivor guilt had significant actor relationships with grief in men and significant partner relationships in women. Omnipotence guilt had a significant linear actor relationship with grief in men and a significant U-shaped quadratic actor relationship in women.Negative self-conscious emotions had intrapersonal relationship with grief in men and both intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships with grief in women. A moderate level of omnipotence guilt was associated with lower grief in women. APIM dyadic analysis furthers understanding of the relationship between personality and parental grief following a perinatal death.