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Franchising the Disenfranchised: A Qualitative Content Analysis of Support Messages in American Miscarriage Sympathy Cards

Miscarriages are a common and unfortunate pregnancy experience; however, parents’ grief over the loss of their unborn child continues to be disenfranchized. One suggestion that miscarriage grief is beginning to be seen as a legitimate loss is with the existence of miscarriage sympathy cards. These cards, similar to other loss sympathy cards, are designed to convey condolence to grieving parents. The purpose of this study was to examine how American miscarriage sympathy cards might help to franchise miscarriage grief and to identify the types of bereavement support message strategies presented in the cards. The qualitative content analysis of miscarriage sympathy cards (N = 63) identified that miscarriage cards primarily rely on death euphuisms to talk about miscarriages and rarely acknowledge parents’ loss as real. Cards presented several support message strategies, the most common being expressing care and concern, providing a religious perspective to explain the loss, and providing a philosophical perspective to explain the loss. Miscarriage card messages also relied on hypothetical memories parents would never experience as a way to help parents remember and honor their unborn child. These results suggest that although the existence of miscarriage sympathy cards imply miscarriage grief is franchised, the language and messages used show that parents’ grief could still be disenfranchized as people struggle with how to offer condolence after a miscarriage.

Educator Secondary Traumatic Stress in the Pandemic’s Wake: Buoying Teacher Holistic Health

The COVID-19 crises wreaked havoc on students and teachers alike. Not only were educators thrust into distance learning overnight, but they had to provide social-emotional support for students with little preparation. Conducted at a school serving economically-challenged, trauma-impacted students, this qualitative study identified manifestations of secondary traumatic stress (STS) experienced by educators during the pandemic, self-care strategies they employed, and mental health resources the school provided. Questionnaire and interview data collected over a three-year period from six female elementary teachers were initially sorted into a priori code categories of physical, cognitive, emotional, and social domains through deductive content analysis; and then further analyzed within those four categories to identify codes that emerged from the data through inductive analysis. This two-pronged data analysis process revealed numerous manifestations of educator STS including sleepless, physical ailments, depletion, emotional escalation, worry over student welfare, feelings of powerlessness, professional uncertainty, and pressure to balance “catching students up” academically with bolstering social competency. School-wide professional development on trauma-informed practices, social-emotional learning, and growth mindset equipped teachers with tangible skills and strategies to address student personal and collective trauma; while initiatives such as the Health Challenge, Wellness Wednesdays, counselor check-ins, and staff appreciation days provided educators with collegial community-building, health and fitness incentives, problem-solving approaches, and mental health strategies. Educators themselves addressed their STS through self-care practices such as mindfulness, cognitive restructuring, boundary setting, and social support in an effort to buoy their holistic health and persist in supporting students.

A Qualitative Investigation of University Students’ Experience of the Beirut Port Explosion

The Beirut port explosion on the 4th of August 2020 added to the struggles of the Lebanese people who were facing a financial crisis, a global pandemic, and political unrest. We hypothesized that these compounded challenges would have significant psychological implications on emerging adults, including university students, already vulnerable to life’s transitions involving self-discovery and independence. This qualitative study sought to investigate university students’ experience of the Beirut port explosion. An online survey with two open-ended questions was administered between December 11, 2020 and January 14, 2021 in a private university with two campuses. Thematic analysis of 1,044 data items revealed four themes: (1) Experiencing emotional upheaval, (2) Realizing the fragility of life, (3) Overcoming adversity, and (4) Changing one’s outlook on life. Responses revealed a number of emotions with a keenly negative valence. The collective’s role in fostering social support was evident through decreased fearful reactions. Many lost trust in the judicial system and favored emigration over standing for justice. The limited requests for retribution are likely due to a sense of impunity and adaptation to cumulative trauma. We suggest that this adaptation offers a clearer understanding of life’s purpose despite its frailty. The role of impunity and social support in influencing healing warrants further research.

Afghan Refugee Populations’ Mental Health: Exploring Pre-migration Environmental Differences and Post-migration Stressors

The majority of Afghan asylum seekers and refugees come to Austria from Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. While those from Afghanistan faced predominantly war-related traumatic events, those from Iran and Pakistan encountered discriminatory experiences related to the host countries. This vulnerable population’s mental health is further strained by different post-migration stressors in Austria. The purpose of the present study was to explore pre-migration environmental differences and association of different sociodemographic and forced-migration related risk factors to mental health outcomes, and the mediation and moderation effects of post-migration stressors. Data were collected from 305 Afghan participants (155 asylum seekers and 150 refugees) that came from Afghanistan, Iran or Pakistan through nonrandom sampling in Austria. Of the 305 participants, 161 (52.8%) had anxiety, 176 (57.7%) depression, 32 (10.5%) ICD-11 PTSD, and 63 (20.7%) ICD-11 CPTSD. In bivariate analyses, being asylum seeker, being divorced, being Pashtun, and higher number of traumata and stressors in pre-migration and post-migration environments were associated with higher prevalence of mental health problems. Pre-migration traumata and post-migration stressors significantly predicted all mental health outcomes in multiple linear regression analyses. Post-migration stressors significantly meditated and moderated the association between pre-migration traumata and mental health symptoms. The findings support pre-migration traumata’s effects and aggravating role of post-migration stressors in mental health of Afghan asylum seekers and refugees in Austria. Our findings imply the importance of implementing proactive and culturally relevant psychosocial interventions that emphasize prevention of post-migration stressors or mitigating their effects on the mental health.

Open Access
War-Related Life-Making Landscapes: Ukrainian Context

The full-scale military invasion has changed the lives of all Ukrainians forever. The necessity to understand how the traumatic experiences of the first months of the war affected people’s ability of life-making, how it changed this ability was the reason for conducting this study. In April–May 2022, 169 respondents wrote essays based on 4 questions about their experience. The sample consisted of 78% women, 22% men (age M = 43.2, SD = 12), 43.2% had personal experience of being under fire. Descriptive and interpretative analyses, multiple correspondence analyses, and comparative analyses were conducted to identify key variables, types of life-making landscapes, and their possible correlations. The landscape of service (27.8%), care (23.7%), and existential landscape (24.3%) were the most spread. More than half of respondents (54.4%) described the experience of losses of relationship, usual lifestyle, home or earnings. In addition, 16.6% mentioned feeling of guilt. The trajectories of the value-time dynamics that set the type of landscape during war differ from that revealed during the pandemic. The loss of relationships is mentioned most often and the most painful part of the guilt experience is the feeling of helplessness in relation to loved ones. A passive or active position in responding to events and multi-contextual or narrow individual perception of the situation turned out to be the most important for a respondent’s place in the psychological space of the studied variables. Limitations and perspectives are discussed.

Child Marriage and Intimate Partner Violence in India: A National Study

Child marriage (CM) and intimate partner violence (IPV) are two global public health concerns, particularly in developing nations such as India. Despite this, evidence of the association between the two is limited. This study aims to examine the association between CM and lifetime experiences of IPV among Indian women. The study utilized the National Family Health Survey, 2019–2021 (NFHS-5), a large scale representative survey, to examine the association between CM and lifetime experiences of IPV in India. A total of 60,480 participants (Mage = 33.67 years) were included in the analysis. The prevalence of CM in the current sample was 38.3%. Experiencing any form of IPV, including emotional IPV, physical IPV, injuries, and sexual IPV, was reported by 29.9%, 11.9%, 26.4%, 6.0%, and 5.2%, participants respectively. Logistic regressions indicated that getting married before the age of 18 was significantly associated with experiencing any form of IPV (odds ratio (OR) = 1.52, 95% CI = 1.47–1.58, p < 0.01)), emotional IPV (OR = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.26–1.49, p < 0.01), physical IPV (OR = 1.58, 95% CI = 1.52–1.63, p < 0.01), injuries (OR = 1.61, 95% CI = 1.51–1.72, p < 0.01), and sexual IPV (OR = 1.42, 95% CI = 1.32–1.53, p < 0.01) from their intimate partners. Findings suggest that interventions are required for substantial reductions in CM and IPV.