The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship of beliefs about the parental bereavement experience, attitude toward talking with bereaved parents about their loss experience and beliefs about the social normative influence on talking with bereaved parents about their loss experience to the behavioral intention of talking with bereaved parents about their loss experience at 3 and 15 months post death of the child. An adaptation of the Theory of Reasoned Action was the theoretical framework. The sample was a convenience sample of 75 nonbereaved parents who had at least one school aged child. Each subject completed The Parental Bereavement Experience: What Is It? Questionnaire and the Parental Bereavement Vignettes Questionnaire, both instruments developed for purposes of this research. Demographic and loss related information was also obtained. The findings refute the adaptation of the Theory of Reasoned Action. Auxiliary analyses revealed significant correlates of beliefs about the parental bereavement experience and attitude: men believed behavioral consequences (attitude) to be more positive than women, men believed the number and expression of grief related symptoms of bereaved parents to be less than women, persons who had experienced an intense grief reaction had a more positive affective response of the self (attitude) than persons who had not experienced an intense grief reaction, and persons who knew a bereaved parent believed the parent would have more grief related symptoms at 15 months than persons who did not know a bereaved parent. Further, there was a significant difference between 3 and 15 months for all substantive study variables except for the affective response of the bereaved parent. Additionally, 23 percent of the sample believed that bereaved parents would be "over" grieving for their child within one year. Sixty percent of the sample believed that it would be normal for a bereaved parent to have "recovered" by 15 months post death of the child. The results suggest that the Theory of Reasoned Action can not be extended to predicting a behavioral intention that involves engaging in an emotionally supportive behavior for another. They also suggest that nonbereaved parents' beliefs about the parental bereavement experience are not consistent with what bereaved parents experience.
Thesis (Ph.D. in Nursing) -- Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, 1994. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 55-05, Section: B, page: 1801. Supervisor: Florence Downs.