Long-term Effects of Child Death on Parents' Health Related Quality of Life: A Dyadic Analysis

Fam Relat. 2010 Jul 1;59(3):269-282. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3729.2010.00601.x.


This study examines the long-term effects of child death on bereaved parents' health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Using data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, we compared 233 bereaved couples and 229 comparison couples (mean age = 65.11 years) and examined the life course effects of child death on parents' HRQoL. Variations in bereavement effects were examined by gender and for different causes of death. Bereaved parents had significantly worse HRQoL than comparison group parents, and there was no evidence of gender differences for this effect. With respect to the cause of a child's death, bereaved parents whose child died in violent circumstances had particularly low levels of HRQoL. Multilevel models indicated that marital closeness mitigated the negative effects of bereavement.