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Background and purpose

In the US, 57,000 children (newborn-18 years) die annually. Bereaved parents may rely on religious or spiritual beliefs in their grief. The study’s purpose was to examine differences in parents’ use of spiritual and religious coping practices by gender, race/ethnicity and religion at one and three months after infant/ICU death.


The sample consisted of 165 bereaved parents; 78% minority. The Spiritual Coping Strategies Scale was used to measure religious and spiritual coping practices, separately. One-way ANOVAs indicated that Black non-Hispanic mothers used significantly more religious coping practices at 3 months than White non-Hispanic mothers. Protestant and Catholic parents used more religious coping practices than the “no” and “other” religion groups at 1 and 3 months. Within the 30 mother-father dyads (paired t-tests), mothers reported significantly greater use of religious coping practices at 1 and 3 months and spiritual coping practices at 3 months than fathers.


Religious coping practices were most commonly used by Black mothers and Protestant and Catholic parents. Within dyads, mothers used more spiritual and religious coping practices than fathers.


Author's Accepted Manuscript.

The publisher's final edited version of this article is available at J Am Assoc Nurse Pract



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