Increased mortality in parents bereaved in the first year of their child’s life

Mairi Harper, Rory O'Connor, Ronan O'Carroll

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Retrospective data linkage study. Setting United Kingdom, 1971–2006. Participants A random sample from death registrations (5%) of parents who had a live birth where the infant lived beyond its first year of life (non-bereaved parents) and parents who had experienced a stillbirth or the death of a child in its first year of life (bereaved parents) between 1971 and 2006. Main outcome measures Death or widowhood of the parent. Results Bereaved parents in Scotland (n=738) were more than twice as likely to die in the first 15 years
    after their child’s death than non-bereaved parents (n=50 132), p<0.005. Bereaved mothers in England and Wales (n=481) were more than four times as likely to die in the first 15 years after their child’s birth than nonbereaved
    parents (n=30 956), p<0.001. The mortality risk for bereaved mothers compared with non-bereaved mothers, followed up for 25 years after death, was 1.5 (bereaved n=745, non-bereaved n=36 434), p<0.005. When followed up for 35 years, the risk of mortality for bereaved mothers (n=1120) was 1.2 times that of nonbereaved mothers (n=36 062), p<0.005. Conclusions Bereaved parents who experience stillbirth or infant death have markedly increased
    mortality compared with non-bereaved parents, up to 25 years (mean) after the death of their child. However, the RR reduces over time.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)306-309
    Number of pages4
    JournalBMJ Supportive and Palliative Care
    Volume1
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2011

    Keywords

    • Bereavement

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