Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Maria C Dinis

Second Advisor

Patricia K Young

Third Advisor

Linda Vold


Despite a growing body of perinatal loss research since 1970, the lived experiences of fathers bereaved by perinatal death are virtually unexamined. This interpretive study presents shared meanings and common themes uncovered, using hermeneutic research methodology, in the transcribed texts of in-depth interviews with three bereaved fathers. The fathers' narratives revealed how they lived with two abiding philosophical questions--"Why us?" and "What if?"--during and for a long time after the actual loss experience. Fathers' cultural understanding of life and death as a natural progression was undermined by their loss experience, leaving them with an understanding of the tentativeness of life that engendered a sense of the preciousness of life and relationships. It is recommended that social workers recognize and affirm the uniqueness of fathers' grief experiences to depathologize fathers'responses, facilitate their reconstruction of meaning and reorganization of values, and promote more helpful bereavement programming.


SC 11.MSW.2000.Nelson.LR

Included in

Social Work Commons