Doctorate in Clinical Psychology: Main Research Portfolio
: 1) A model of psychological adjustment to scarring following planned surgery; 2) Volunteers' experiences of helping hoarders and hoarders' experiences of being helped; 3) Post-traumatic growth in mothers 2 - 6 years after stillbirth and early miscarriage.

  • Kirsty Ryninks

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy)


Background. The possibility of posttraumatic growth (PTG) in the aftermath of pregnancy loss has received limited attention to date. This study investigated PTG in mothers two to six years following stillbirth (SB) compared to early miscarriage (EM). It was hypothesised that mothers following SB will demonstrate more (1) PTG, (2) challenge to assumptive beliefs, and (3) disclosure than mothers following EM. The study also sought to understand how theoretically-derived variables of the Model of Growth in Grief (challenge to assumptive beliefs and disclosure) explained unique variance in PTG when key factors were controlled for. Methods. One hundred and twenty women who had experienced a SB (N=57) or EM (N=63) two to six years ago completed validated questionnaires relating to PTG and key variables relevant to emotional adjustment post-bereavement. Results. Participants who had experienced a SB demonstrated significantly higher levels of PTG, posttraumatic stress symptoms, perinatal grief, disclosure, challenge to assumptive beliefs and rumination than participants who had experienced an EM. In a hierarchical stepwise regression analysis, challenge to assumptive beliefs alone predicted 17.6% of the variance in PTG. Intrusive and deliberate rumination predicted an additional 5.9% of variance, with urge to talk and actual self-disclosure predicting a further 14.7%. A final model including these variables explained 46.4% of the variance in PTG. Conclusions. Significantly higher levels of PTG were found in mothers following SB compared to in mothers following EM. Mothers experienced greater challenge to their assumptive beliefs and revealed higher levels of actual self-disclosure and greater urge to talk following their SB. These findings can partially be explained by differences in key variables from the Model of Growth in Grief.
Date of Award4 Sept 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJames Gregory (Supervisor), Paul Salkovskis (Supervisor), Cara Davis (Supervisor) & Megan Wilkinson-Tough (Supervisor)

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