Bereaved parents : central issues of bereavement

Hunt, Sonya (2007-12)

Thesis (MA (Psychology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.


With the aim of identifying central issues of bereavement, a literature study was undertaken and 22 bereaved participants were interviewed. The transcribed interviews of the participants were loaded on the Atlas ti. (2004) programme, specifically designed for qualitative analysis. From the analysis, four central issues, each with its own set of sub-issues emerged. The first central issue, called ‘Risk Factors’, had sub-categories of issues relating to the state of the family before the loss had taken place. These factors included issues such as the personality of the child, the ages and stages of individual members of the family, the bonds between family members and previous losses, which the family have experienced. Secondly, a group of issues, called ‘Bereavement’, were identified. The sub-categories in this group included aspects such as the circumstances surrounding the death, the way in which the child died, and the decisions parents had to make in the midst of the trauma. The third, and largest group of issues, called ‘Grief Reactions’, described the emotional-, physical-, spiritual-, cognitive-, behavioural- and relational reactions following the death. Finally, a group of related issues were identified as issues of ‘Mourning’. This group is associated with coping behaviours employed by the parents in attempting to continue life, in socially and culturally acceptable ways.

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