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Sense and significance: a mixed methods examination of meaning making after the loss of one's child

Sense and significance: a mixed methods examination of meaning making after the loss of one's child The purpose of this mixed methods study was to identify specific themes of meaning making (sense making and benefit finding) among bereaved parents, as well as to examine associations of these themes to the severity of grief symptomatology. A sample of 156 bereaved parents responded in writing to open‐ended questions about sense making and benefit finding. We assessed normative grief symptoms with the Core Bereavement Items (Burnett, Middleton, Raphael, & Martinek, 1997) and maladaptive grief symptoms with the Inventory of Complicated Grief (Prigerson et al., 1995). Qualitative analyses revealed 45% of the sample could not make sense of their loss, and 21% could not identify benefits related to their loss experience. These parents had more severe normative and maladaptive grief symptoms. Overall, parents discussed 32 distinct approaches to finding meaning in their child's death, 14 of which involved sense making, and 18 involved themes of benefit finding. The most common sense‐making themes involved spirituality and religious beliefs, and the most common benefit‐finding themes entailed an increase in the desire to help and compassion for others' suffering. These results further reinforce the importance of meaning making for many bereaved parents and suggest the utility of developing and evaluating meaning‐centered grief interventions with this population. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol: 66:1–22, 2010. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Clinical Psychology Wiley

Sense and significance: a mixed methods examination of meaning making after the loss of one's child

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References (55)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2010 Wiley Subscription Services
ISSN
0021-9762
eISSN
1097-4679
DOI
10.1002/jclp.20700
pmid
20527057
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this mixed methods study was to identify specific themes of meaning making (sense making and benefit finding) among bereaved parents, as well as to examine associations of these themes to the severity of grief symptomatology. A sample of 156 bereaved parents responded in writing to open‐ended questions about sense making and benefit finding. We assessed normative grief symptoms with the Core Bereavement Items (Burnett, Middleton, Raphael, & Martinek, 1997) and maladaptive grief symptoms with the Inventory of Complicated Grief (Prigerson et al., 1995). Qualitative analyses revealed 45% of the sample could not make sense of their loss, and 21% could not identify benefits related to their loss experience. These parents had more severe normative and maladaptive grief symptoms. Overall, parents discussed 32 distinct approaches to finding meaning in their child's death, 14 of which involved sense making, and 18 involved themes of benefit finding. The most common sense‐making themes involved spirituality and religious beliefs, and the most common benefit‐finding themes entailed an increase in the desire to help and compassion for others' suffering. These results further reinforce the importance of meaning making for many bereaved parents and suggest the utility of developing and evaluating meaning‐centered grief interventions with this population. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol: 66:1–22, 2010.

Journal

Journal of Clinical PsychologyWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2010

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