Similarities and Dissimilarities in Spouses’ Narratives of Miscarriage

A Dyadic Analysis of Communicated Narrative Sense-Making and Well-Being

Amanda Holman, Haley Kranstuber Horstman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Drawing upon communicated narrative sense-making (CNSM) theory, we explored how husbands and wives narratively make sense of their miscarriage and links to well-being. Specifically, we analyzed how the narrative theme, sequence, and similarity related to spouses’ perceived stress and relational satisfaction. Heterosexual married couples (n = 185; N = 370) who had experienced a miscarriage responded to online questionnaires in which they told the story of their pregnancy loss and completed measures of well-being. Seven miscarriage story themes emerged–hope lost, factual, time heals, helpful support, unhelpful support, cautiously optimistic, and guilt/shame. Findings demonstrated that husbands’ themes accounted for differences in their relational satisfaction, whereas wives’ themes accounted for differences in their perceived stress. Analyses on narrative similarity revealed couples with different themes reported higher relational satisfaction than those with similar themes. Further, those couples with the same narrative sequences (i.e., contaminated, redemptive, or ambivalent) reported less perceived stress than those with different narrative sequences. These findings suggest that storying miscarriage helps both husbands and wives process loss in unique ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Family Communication
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Spontaneous Abortion
Spouses
spouse
well-being
narrative
husband
wife
married couple
shame
guilt
Shame
pregnancy
Guilt
Heterosexuality
questionnaire
Pregnancy

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication

Cite this

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abstract = "Drawing upon communicated narrative sense-making (CNSM) theory, we explored how husbands and wives narratively make sense of their miscarriage and links to well-being. Specifically, we analyzed how the narrative theme, sequence, and similarity related to spouses’ perceived stress and relational satisfaction. Heterosexual married couples (n = 185; N = 370) who had experienced a miscarriage responded to online questionnaires in which they told the story of their pregnancy loss and completed measures of well-being. Seven miscarriage story themes emerged–hope lost, factual, time heals, helpful support, unhelpful support, cautiously optimistic, and guilt/shame. Findings demonstrated that husbands’ themes accounted for differences in their relational satisfaction, whereas wives’ themes accounted for differences in their perceived stress. Analyses on narrative similarity revealed couples with different themes reported higher relational satisfaction than those with similar themes. Further, those couples with the same narrative sequences (i.e., contaminated, redemptive, or ambivalent) reported less perceived stress than those with different narrative sequences. These findings suggest that storying miscarriage helps both husbands and wives process loss in unique ways.",
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