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December 2021

Parents' health, health care utilization, and health behaviors following the violent deaths of their 12-to 28-year-old children: A prospective longitudinal analysis

Author(s): Lohan, J., Braun, T., Johnson, L. C., Cain, K. C., Beaton, R. D., Baugher, R.

Journal/Book: Death Stud. 1999; 23: 1900 Frost Road, Suite 101, Bristol, PA 19007-1598, USA. Hemisphere Publ Corp. 589-616.

Abstract: Health status, health care utilization, and health behaviors of parents bereaved by the violent deaths of their adolescent and young adult children were examined 4, 12, and 24 months later. Participants were 261 bereaved parents (171 mothers, 90 fathers). About 20% of the parents reported ''poor'' physical health during the early bereavement period compared with 16% of Americans the same age. Over time, mothers' health improved whereas fathers' health deteriorated. Fathers in poor health compared with fathers in good health are 15 times more likely to report emotional distress and 4.6 times more likely to report trauma symptoms. Mothers in poor health compared with mothers in good health are 11 times more likely to report emotional distress and 3 times more likely to report trauma symptoms. Mothers' reports of physician visits and medication use were higher than fathers', however, mothers' rates for both decreased significantly over time whereas fathers' rates remained constant. Over 70% of the mothers and nearly 60% of the fathers practiced 2 or more health protective behaviors over time-a finding significantly associated with fewer stress-related illnesses, days absent from work, and non-productivity at work. Implications for the findings are discussed.

Note: Article Murphy SA, Univ Washington, Sch Nursing, Dept Psychosocial & Community Hlth, Box 357263, Seattle,WA 98195 USA

Keyword(s): PHYSICAL HEALTH; BEREAVED PARENTS; TRAUMATIC EVENTS; SOCIAL SUPPORT; VICTIMIZATION; 12-YEAR-OLD; SYMPTOMS; SUICIDE; DISEASE; NETWORK


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