The effect of (in)congruent grieving and grief intervention on marital satisfaction in bereaved parents
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A longitudinal quasi-experimental study was conducted among bereaved couples, to examine the relationship between congruently and incongruently grieving couples and their ratings on marital satisfaction. Furthermore, the relative intervention efficacy on marital satisfaction was examined for congruent and incongruent couples who attended a mutual support group together. Couples (N = 27) completed the Dyadic Adjustment Scale and the Inventory of Traumatic Grief before and after ten mutual support group sessions. Use of ANOVA analyses enabled assessment of (in)congruent grieving and mutual support groups on marital satisfaction in couples. No statistically significant differences were found between congruently and incongruently grieving couples on marital satisfaction, although, fathers scored higher on marital satisfaction when the grief symptoms of their spouse were more intense (p < .05). Furthermore, mutual support group participation did not significantly increase marital satisfaction in bereaved couples. Interestingly, a significant (p < .05) interaction effect was found for Time x Group x Congruency on marital satisfaction, however, this effect was mainly caused by low baseline scores of congruent couples in the control group.Couples’ scores on marital satisfaction were not affected by congruent or incongruent grieving. Furthermore, mutual support groups were not found effective for bereaved parents with respect to marital satisfaction, regardless of whether parents grieve congruently or incongruently.