Maternal Perceptions of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Terri L. Shelton, Vice Chancellor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: The purpose of the present study was to examine the maternal perceptions of the psychosocial sequelae regarding the loss of an infant to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and the effectiveness of the informal and organized sources of support. Seventy-three mothers experiencing a SIDS death within a 3-year period responded to a questionnaire designed to obtain maternal perceptions of the experience. Results indicate that the death of the infant was viewed as a severe life crisis. However, the majority of the mothers reported increased marital supportiveness, increased emotional closeness to surviving children, and a generally satisfactory adjustment. Perceived emotional support was significantly related to the severity of maternal grief reactions. Although the majority of initial grief symptoms subsided, the data indicate that maternal grief reactions may be more extended than would have been predicted from previous literature. A significant number of mothers reported receiving sufficient informational and emotional support. However, one quarter of the respondents indicated that the support was inadequate. Few mothers contacted mental health professionals and, of those that did, their perception was that this contact was of little or no value. Implications for improved support by mental health professionals as well as directions for future research are discussed.

Additional Information

Children's Health Care, 14(1), 22-31.
Language: English
Date: 1985
Sudden infant death syndrome, Mother, Attitudes, Infant health

Email this document to