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Life after a loss to suicide: understanding social network interactions and their impact

Scott, Hannah Rachel; (2021) Life after a loss to suicide: understanding social network interactions and their impact. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Conservative estimates suggest that globally, 5 million people are impacted by suicide each year, making it a prevalent stressful life event, and one that has the potential to impact considerably on wellbeing. In England, professional support specifically focused on the needs of people bereaved by suicide is limited and so informal social support, the help available from family and friends, is particularly important. Little is known about the mechanisms of social support after a suicide loss, particularly its reciprocal aspect. The aim of this thesis is to explore how the social networks of friends and family bereaved by suicide informally support one another after their loss. The first project in this thesis is a systematic review and narrative synthesis of 16 studies, which showed that higher levels of social support are at least partially associated with improved wellbeing after sudden or traumatic deaths. Social support is therefore worth working to improve. A qualitative study followed this, in which 26 participants from 13 different social networks were interviewed about their experiences of support and social interactions after their loss. A novel method of analysis (based on dyadic analysis) was used to examine the similarities and differences in perspectives of participants from within the same social networks. Results showed that social networks tend to naturally adapt to cope with a loss, but can face barriers to communication which hinder supportive efforts, and relationships can be negatively impacted by mismatches of narratives of the loss and support style. Finally, a public resource aimed at social networks bereaved by suicide underwent initial development. Using findings from the qualitative study, draft material for a text-based resource intended to inform and normalise experiences, and a plan for its further development was created.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Life after a loss to suicide: understanding social network interactions and their impact
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
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
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10130947
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