Grief experience of fathers: thoughts, feelings, needs, and reported sex-types




Turner, Geneva

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The population for the study consisted of fathers who had experienced the death of their infants. Thirty-three fathers interviewed in seven states were included in the sample. A descriptive, constant comparative, ethnographic design was used. An interview guide was devised and the Bem Sex Role Inventory was used to determine sex-types. Semantic content analysis was used to derive thoughts, feelings, and needs by using a method of hand coding (interrater reliability of .987), and The Ethnograph. The research question was: What are the reported sex-types and the reported thoughts, feelings, and needs of fathers following the death of their infants? The total number of thoughts identified was 298, 351 feelings, and 274 needs. Data from all four sex types included: androgynous, 10; feminine, 7; masculine, 11; and undifferentiated, 5. No significant difference was obtained for thoughts, feelings, and needs by sex-type, race, and age using one-way ANOVA. A significant difference (<.05) was found for the needs category and occupations unemployed and professionally self-employed, F = 2.96; effect size, 1.91 SD units, Newman-Keuls, q27.6 = 4.37; Pearson's product moment correlation and r squared, r(33) = .47, p = <.01, r('2) = .22 ; eta square, .35; and chi-square, 49.26. The findings of the investigation indicate that regardless of sex-type fathers experience grief. Absence of visible signs of grief is not necessarily an indication that the phenomenon does not exist in the reality of fathers. Fathers in the investigation were graphic when describing their feelings. However, the literature on grief has not supported the descriptions by fathers. Temporal frames assigned to the categories will allow nurses to incorporate strategies for approaching and implementing care for fathers. Feelings and thoughts cannot be controlled. However, focusing on the data provided can influence the outcome of a father's grief. It is suggested that nurses care for them as parents, as well. The needs obtained can serve as the rationale for restructuring the protocol presently followed when an infant dies.



Infant loss, Grief thoughts and feelings