A qualitative investigation of the psychological effects of recurrent miscarriage on male partners

Erica Anne Tennenbaum, Fordham University


The present qualitative study was an exploration of the impact of recurrent miscarriage (RM) on male partners. The purpose of the study was to understand male partners' perceptions regarding their experience of RM and gain a comprehensive portrayal of the range of psychological and emotional consequences of RM on men. Semistructured interviews were conducted with a diverse sample of 15 men whose partners' experienced RM. Female partners completed a qualitative survey. Open, axial, and selective themes emerged from the data analysis, yielding a grounded theory. The grounded theory emerged from a total of 55 open categories, 25 axial categories, and 8 selective categories. The grounded theory that emerged revealed that the participants often suffered increasing grief and sorrow. This sadness occurred in conjunction with anxiety related to their wives' health and fear that they would never experience fatherhood. Without any clear explanation regarding the cause(s) of the RM, the men felt helpless because they are unable to "fix" the problem or relieve their wives' grief and pain. These men frequently experienced anger directed towards their wives, the medical establishment and/or the world in general. Most of the men used some maladaptive coping strategies, such as drinking alcohol to reduce their stress and grief. They tended to reach out for support as the miscarriages continued and many relied on their family and friends, particularly their female relatives. RM caused changes in the majority of the men's personal relationships and greatly affected the marital relationship. Changes in the couples' relationships occurred for all of the participants, but even those who had major strains during the RM experience reported a stronger bond and closer relationship at the time of the interview. Directions for future research and clinical implications for medical and mental health professionals are discussed.

Subject Area

Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Tennenbaum, Erica Anne, "A qualitative investigation of the psychological effects of recurrent miscarriage on male partners" (2008). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3303099.