An exploratory study of the miscarriage experience

Marianne Hopkins Hutti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The purpose of this exploratory study was to begin to specify the significance attached to the miscarriage experience, and to determine how this significance related to subsequent decisions and actions. Two white, middle‐class, married women were subjects. Both had experienced a miscarriage within the previous year. One subject was a primigravida. The other was a multigravida who had experienced a miscarriage with her first pregnancy and again with her most recent pregnancy. All three miscarriage experiences were studied. Subjects were interviewed twice using an open‐ended, subject‐oriented interview technique. The miscarriage experience was described by subjects in the first interview and was clarified and expanded upon in the second interview. Interviews lasted approximately one and one‐half hours and were audiotape recorded. Verbatim transcripts of interviews served as the data for analysis. Dougherty’s Model of Cognitive Representation served as the theoretical basis of the study. The analysis process involved identifying the events to which subjects referred, chronologically sequencing these events, and delineating the significance attached to them. Subjects’ epistemic orientations were inferred, and similarities and differences between subjects were identified. The analysis revealed that, while subjects refer to a similar inventory of events, they exhibit some differences in the significance that they attach to those events. The consequent differences in their epistemic orientations appeared to be related to the different courses of.action they undertook during and subsequent to their miscarriages. With further study, information identified in this study may help nurses to provide more effective care to women who have experienced miscarriage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-389
Number of pages19
JournalHealth Care for Women International
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Health Professions


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