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Dr. Jennifer Bute

Professor, Communication Studies

Indiana University, Indianapolis

Adjunct Faculty, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

IU School of Liberal Arts

Translational Scholar

IUPUI Center for Translating Research into Practice

About Me

I am a professor and health communication scholar in the Department of Communication Studies at IU Indianapolis. My research centers on interpersonal communication about health, with an emphasis on everyday conversations about health, illness, and healing. I'm also interested in improving conversations between patients and health care providers.

Most of my work has explored issues of reproductive health, such as how people manage private information about topics like infertility and miscarriage. I serve on the Health Care Task Force for the Institute of Reproductive Grief Care in San Diego, CA. In addition, I study interpersonal communication in the management of life-threatening food allergies and served on the Outcomes Research Advisory Board for Food Allergy Research & Education. My research has appeared in numerous edited books and journals, including Communication Monographs, Health Communication, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Human Communication Research, Patient Education and Counseling, Qualitative Health Research, and Social Science and Medicine. My work has been funded by the National Communication Association, the Indiana Department of Health, the Central States Communication Association, the School of Liberal Arts, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research at IUPUI.

Latest Publication
“There's no time limit on grief:” Women's perspectives on a novel reproductive grief screening tool

Objective: Women who have experienced reproductive loss (i.e., miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion) evaluated the usefulness of a novel screening tool, Reproductive Grief Screen (RGS), to identify patients struggling with ongoing, complicated grief.

Methods: This mixed-methods study involved U.S. women who had experienced reproductive loss. Online data collection resulted in 27 interviews and 282 surveys completed. Perceptions of and preferences about RGS were thematically analyzed. Chi square analyses assessed relationships between demographics and tool preferences.


Results: RGS validated women's experiences with grief after reproductive loss. Women noted their providers may be unaware of their loss(es). Participants requested periodic screening using RGS beginning shortly after a loss (or during new patient intake) and occurring regularly (e.g., annually). Overall, women preferred completing RGS online before an appointment, though preferences varied by demographics (i.e., age, time since loss). Participants want providers to compassionately discuss RGS results with them and offer appropriate resources.


Conclusion: The RGS can help identify largely ignored grief after reproductive loss.


Innovation: Findings from group and individual interviews and a survey of women who have coped with reproductive loss suggest that use of a brief RGS tool could reshape clinical practice to aid women who might be facing complicated grief. Moreover, women expressed clear preferences for how to implement use of the RGS in clinical contexts.

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