Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Education, Counseling

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Emily Oliveira


Susan Kashubeck-West

Rachel Wamser-Nanney

Phillip Waalkes


The available literature suggests that social support can contribute to individuals’ positive psychological changes following a traumatic event. However, the effects of the social milieu following pregnancy loss on women’s post-loss adjustment continues to be vastly unexplored. This dissertation explores a gap in the literature surrounding the relationship of interpersonal and intrapersonal social factors on women’s posttraumatic growth (PTG) after miscarriage or stillbirth via three studies. Specifically, the following factors were investigated in relation to PTG: 1) Adult attachment and women’s experiences of dyadic coping; 2) self-disclosure, positive social reactions and deliberate rumination; 3) empathy and prosocial behaviors. Women who had experienced miscarriage or stillbirth were recruited online and completed an online survey that assessed the above mentioned variables as well as demographics and loss context factors. The hypotheses were tested via hierarchical multiple regression, analysis of variance and the PROCESS macro. Overall, the findings across the three studies provide some support for applying PTG theory to women who have experienced pregnancy loss, highlighting the importance of social support in facilitating positive psychological change after the trauma of miscarriage or stillbirth. Specific findings, clinical implications, limitations and recommendations for future research are included in each manuscript.

Included in

Counseling Commons