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The Perceived Impact of Suicide Bereavement on Specific Interpersonal Relationships: A Qualitative Study of Survey Data

Azorina, V; Morant, N; Nesse, H; Stevenson, F; Osborn, D; King, M; Pitman, A; (2019) The Perceived Impact of Suicide Bereavement on Specific Interpersonal Relationships: A Qualitative Study of Survey Data. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health , 16 (10) , Article 1801. 10.3390/ijerph16101801. Green open access

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Abstract

People bereaved by suicide have an increased risk of suicide and suicide attempt, yet report receiving less support than people bereaved by other sudden deaths. Reductions in support may contribute to suicide risk, yet their nature is unclear. We explored the impact of suicide bereavement on the interpersonal relationships of young adults in the UK using an online survey to collect qualitative data. We conducted thematic analysis of free-text responses from 499 adults to questions capturing the impact of bereavement on relationships with partners, close friends, close family, extended family, and other contacts. We identified four main themes describing the changes in relationships following the suicide: (1) Social discomfort over the death (stigma and taboo; painfulness for self or others to discuss; socially prescribed grief reactions); (2) social withdrawal (loss of social confidence; withdrawal as a coping mechanism); (3) shared bereavement experience creating closeness and avoidance; (4) attachments influenced by fear of further losses (overprotectiveness towards others; avoiding attachments as protective). These findings contribute to understanding deficits in support and pathways to suicidality after suicide bereavement. Such disrupted attachments add to the burden of grief and could be addressed by public education on how to support those bereaved by suicide.

Type: Article
Title: The Perceived Impact of Suicide Bereavement on Specific Interpersonal Relationships: A Qualitative Study of Survey Data
Location: Switzerland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph16101801
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101801
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
Keywords: bereavement, grief, interpersonal relationships, kinship, qualitative research, social support, suicide bereavement
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Primary Care and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10074999
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