Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Following Stillbirth: Trauma Characteristics, Locus of Control, Posttraumatic Cognitions

Man Cheung Chung, Jacqueline Reed
Psychiatric Quarterly 2017, 88 (2): 307-321
This study examined the incidence of PTSD and psychiatric co-morbidity among women who experienced stillbirth and investigated the relationship between locus of control, trauma characteristics of stillbirth, posttraumatic cognitions, PTSD and co-morbid psychiatric symptoms following stillbirth. Fifty women recorded information on stillbirth experiences, and completed the Posttraumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale, General Health Questionnaire-28, Edinburgh Post-natal Depression Scale, Rotter's Locus of Control Scale and the Posttraumatic Cognitions Inventory. 60, 28 and 12 % met the diagnostic criteria for probable full-PTSD, partial and no-PTSD respectively. Sixty-two percent and 54 % scored at or above the cutoff of the General Health Questionnaire-28 and postnatal depression respectively. Women who experienced stillbirth reported significantly more psychiatric co-morbid and post-natal depressive symptoms than the comparison group. Both groups were similar in locus of control. Women who experienced stillbirth reported negative cognitions about the self the most. After adjusting for postnatal depression, trauma characteristics were significantly correlated with Posttraumatic cognitions which, in turn, were significantly correlated with PTSD and psychiatric co-morbidity. Locus of control was not significantly correlated with psychological outcomes. Mediational analyses showed that negative cognitions about self mediated the relationship between trauma characteristics and psychiatric co-morbidity only. Women reported a high incidence of probable PTSD and co-morbid psychiatric symptoms following stillbirth. Stillbirth trauma characteristics influenced how they negatively perceived themselves. This then specifically influenced general psychological problems rather than PTSD symptoms.

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