IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The impact of a child death on marital adjustment


  • Najman, Jake M.
  • Vance, John C.
  • Boyle, Fran
  • Embleton, Gary
  • Foster, Bill
  • Thearle, John


One continuing concern in the sociological and psychological literature has been with the mental health consequences of stressful life events. Occasionally such stressful events have been linked to other outcomes such as deterioration in the extent or quality of the relationship between a cohabiting (usually married) couple. This paper takes data from a longitudinal study of parents of an infant who has died (due to a Stillbirth, Neonatal Death or Sudden Infant Death), to determine whether the relationship between the parents is adversely affected. The follow-up data is available 2 months and 6-8 months after the infant death. The results indicate there is an increased marital break-up rate for parents whose infant has died. Further, shortly after the death there is evidence of a deterioration of the quality of the marital relationship between the partners whose relationship has remained intact. Both these consequences of an infant death are unlikely to be due to chance, but their magnitude is relatively modest. At the 6 month follow-up, there is evidence of a deterioration in the quality of the relationship for those partners whose infant survived, such that at 6 months there are no longer any marital adjustment differences between parents experiencing an infant death and parents whose infant survived.

Suggested Citation

  • Najman, Jake M. & Vance, John C. & Boyle, Fran & Embleton, Gary & Foster, Bill & Thearle, John, 1993. "The impact of a child death on marital adjustment," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 1005-1010, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:37:y:1993:i:8:p:1005-1010

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Lundborg, Petter & Vikström, Johan, 2012. "The economics of grief," Working Paper Series 2012:23, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    2. Lee, Chioun & Glei, Dana A. & Weinstein, Maxine & Goldman, Noreen, 2014. "Death of a child and parental wellbeing in old age: Evidence from Taiwan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 166-173.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:37:y:1993:i:8:p:1005-1010. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.