The loss of a child: Effects of adult attachment and relationship adjustment on grief over time among parents
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The relationship between the parents forms an essential context within which the psychological aspects of the loss of a child are managed. In line with the model of attachment system functioning (Mikulincer & Shaver, 2002) the partner could serve as an attachment figure for bereaved parents and consequently have an effect on their grief over time. To investigate this, a longitudinal study over a period of half a year was conducted. Data were collected from a sample of 83 parents. Multiple regression was applied to explore the main and interaction effect of anxious and avoidant attachment, and relationship adjustment on decrease in grief symptoms. Higher levels of avoidant attachment were related with a smaller decrease in grief symptoms. Neither avoidant attachment nor relationship adjustment had significant associations with the decrease in grief symptoms. Furthermore, relationship adjustment did not moderate the association of the adult attachment dimensions with the decrease in grief symptoms. The interpretation of these results as well as limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed.