From “silent birth” to voices heard: Volunteering, meaning, and posttraumatic growth after stillbirth

Joanne Cacciatore, Cybele Blood, Sarah Kurker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Scopus citations


    Volunteerism after stillbirth has not been adequately explored despite recent advances in research on volunteering after trauma and the voluminous research on posttraumatic growth (PTG). Previous research on PTG, “altruism born of suffering,” and constructivist theories of grief, meaning, and social narrative provide applicable frameworks. Parents (N=191) in the present study were assessed for self-reported growth factors with the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI) scale and gave narrative reports describing the importance of volunteering for them after their baby’s death. Parents who volunteered after their baby’s death self-reported significantly higher mean scores on the PGTI than parents who did not volunteer. Qualitative analysis with parents who volunteered only after their baby’s death (n=39) discovered salient categories that confirm and connect theoretically similar explorations from prior research, and also illuminate new directions for research. Clinical implications and caveats are presented.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)23-39
    Number of pages17
    JournalIllness Crisis and Loss
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jan 2018


    • Altruism born of suffering
    • Grief and bereavement
    • Perinatal death
    • Posttraumatic meaning-making
    • Prosocial volunteering
    • Stillbirth

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health(social science)
    • Sociology and Political Science


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