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Gender comparison of psychological reaction after miscarriage—a 1-year longitudinal study

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Please cite this paper as: Kong G, Chung T, Lai B, Lok I. Gender comparison of psychological reaction after miscarriage—a 1-year longitudinal study. BJOG 2010;117:1211–1219. Objective 

To explore men’s psychological reaction and its evolutionary course over 1 year after miscarriage, to compare this reaction with that of their female partners and to investigate the possible correlation of psychological states between partners. Design 

Prospective 1-year longitudinal observational study. Setting 

A university-affiliated tertiary referral hospital in Hong Kong. Sample 

Eighty-three miscarrying couples. Methods 

The psychological reactions of miscarrying women and their male partners were assessed immediately and at 3, 6 and 12 months after miscarriage. Main outcome measures 

Psychological outcomes were assessed using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Results 

A substantial proportion of men (43.4%) scored high in GHQ-12 and 16.9% scored high in BDI immediately after miscarriage. In men, both psychometric scores decreased sharply within the first 3 months and reached a plateau. When compared with women, men scored significantly lower in GHQ-12 and BDI during the 1-year course after miscarriage. A planned pregnancy was a significant risk factor (P = 0.008) associated with an initial high BDI score in men. There was a significant positive correlation between couples in both GHQ-12 and BDI scores throughout the longitudinal course. Conclusions 

Although the psychological impact of miscarriage on men was less enduring when compared with that on women, a significant proportion of men demonstrated psychological distress after miscarriage. The significant positive correlation in a couple’s psychological reaction indicated that psychological morbidity was not confined only to a woman’s own experience, but also affected her relationship with her male partner.

Keywords: Male partner; miscarriage; psychological reaction

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-0528.2010.02653.x

Affiliations: 1: Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong, China 2: Division of Social Science, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, China

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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