Journal: Death studies
This article explores the grief process of parents following the death of a child due to a life-limiting illness, putting particular focus on dyadic coping. Participants included 46 married parents (23 couples). A mixed methods design was used with in-depth interviews and standardized questionnaires. All parents were interviewed separately. Aspects of common dyadic coping (e.g., sharing emotions, or maintaining bonds to the child) helped them work through their grief as a couple but also individually. We conclude that dyadic coping plays an important role in grief work and adjustment to bereavement.
When a person goes missing, those left behind mourn an ambiguous loss where grief can be disenfranchised. Different to bereavement following death, hope figures into this experience as a missing person has the potential to return. This review explores hope for families of missing people. Lived experience of ambiguous loss was deconstructed to reveal responses punctuated by hope, which had practical and psychological implications for those learning to live with an unresolved absence. Future lines of enquiry must address the dearth of research exploring the role of hope, unresolved grief, and its clinical implications when a person is missing.
To identify important trends in thanatology as a discipline, the authors analyzed over 1,500 articles that appeared in Death Studies and Omega over a 20-year period, coding the category of articles (e.g., theory, application, empirical research), their content focus (e.g., bereavement, death attitudes, end-of-life), and for empirical studies, their methodology (e.g., quantitative, qualitative). In general, empirical research predominates in both journals, with quantitative methods outnumbering qualitative procedures 2 to 1 across the period studied, despite an uptick in the latter methods in recent years. Purely theoretical articles, in contrast, decline in frequency. Research on grief and bereavement is the most commonly occurring (and increasing) content focus of this work, with a declining but still substantial body of basic research addressing death attitudes. Suicidology is also well represented in the corpus of articles analyzed. In contrast, publications on topics such as death education, medical ethics, and end-of-life issues occur with lower frequency, in the latter instances likely due to the submission of such work to more specialized medical journals. Differences in emphasis of Death Studies and Omega are noted, and the analysis of publication patterns is interpreted with respect to overall trends in the discipline and the culture, yielding a broad depiction of the field and some predictions regarding its possible future.
This study examined the relationship between attachment style, coping flexibility, military/non-military cause of death, levels of grief reactions and posttraumatic growth (PTG), in 150 bereaved adult siblings in Israel. Insecurely attached participants, 72% of the sample, reported more grief and less PTG than did securely attached ones. Highly avoidant individuals exhibited the least amount of PTG. Securely attached siblings were more flexible and flexibly coping participants reported less grief and higher PTG. Cause of death was not related to grief and PTG. Discussion of these findings yields conditions enabling PTG after a sibling loss.
We evaluated how well Associated Press News Wire stories adhered to the Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide™ during 2012, a peak year of military suicide. We included individual suicide stories (N = 167) from randomly selected days. We also evaluated differences in the military versus civilian coverage. Military and civilian stories typically had about five negative practices, and less than one positive practice, with military stories significantly more likely to miss valuable opportunities to promote help-seeking. Our findings, combined with previous evidence, suggest the need for the development of specific military suicide reporting guidelines.
Immigrants constitute a significant percentage of the total population living in the United States; however, there is a paucity of research unique to suicidality among immigrants. The present paper examines the applicability of the three variables of the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behavior - acquired capability for suicide, sense of thwarted belongingness, and perceived burdensomeness - to conceptualize, assess, and treat suicidality among immigrants. Risk and protective factors and mechanisms are discussed in the context of two case studies and immigrant paradox. Clinical implications include assessment and treatment of immigrant-specific experiences. Obstacles to treatment and future research directions are presented.
To identify the most common end-of-life reflections among terminally ill patients, 124 nurses from the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA) completed an online, open-ended survey. Common themes of these reflections included concern for loved ones, regret, morbidity and mortality, gratitude, spirituality, legacy, and thoughts about acceptance or non-acceptance of impending death. Nurses reported that their patients were more concerned about their loved ones than their own morbidity and mortality. Common end-of-life reflections may serve as cues that hospice and palliative patients are self-initiating therapeutic life review.
To examine psychiatric prescribing in response to perinatal/neonatal death, we analyzed data from a cross-sectional survey of 235 bereaved parents participating in an online support community. Of the 88 respondents prescribed medication, antidepressants were most common (n = 70, 79.5%) followed by benzodiazepines/sleep aids (n = 18, 20.5%). Many prescriptions were written shortly after the death (32.2% within 48 hr, 43.7% within a week, and 74.7% within a month). Obstetrician/gynecologists wrote most prescriptions given shortly after loss. Most respondents prescribed antidepressants took them long-term. This sample is select, but these data raise disturbing questions about prescribing practices for grieving parents.
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) includes symptoms such as post-exertional malaise, unrefreshing sleep, and cognitive impairments. Several studies suggest these patients have an increased risk of suicidal ideation and early mortality, although few have published in this area. This study explores risk factors for suicide among 64 individuals with ME/CFS using archival data, 17 of which died from suicide. Results indicated an increased risk of suicide for those for those utilizing the label CFS, for those with limited overall functioning, and for those without comorbid illnesses. Findings suggest that stigma and functional impairments limit access to care and social supports.
Mental health concerns of people impacted by the coronavirus pandemic have not been adequately addressed. The objective of this study was to develop and evaluate the properties of the Coronavirus Anxiety Scale (CAS), which is a brief mental health screener to identify probable cases of dysfunctional anxiety associated with the COVID-19 crisis. This 5-item scale, which was based on 775 adults with anxiety over the coronavirus, demonstrated solid reliability and validity. Elevated CAS scores were found to be associated with coronavirus diagnosis, impairment, alcohol/drug coping, negative religious coping, extreme hopelessness, suicidal ideation, as well as attitudes toward President Trump and Chinese products. The CAS discriminates well between persons with and without dysfunctional anxiety using an optimized cut score of ≥ 9 (90% sensitivity and 85% specificity). These results support the CAS as an efficient and valid tool for clinical research and practice.