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Journal Article

Citation

Azorina V, Morant N, Nesse H, Stevenson F, Osborn D, King M, Pitman A. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019; 16(10): e16101801.

Affiliation

Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, St Pancras Hospital, London NW1 0PE, UK. a.pitman@ucl.ac.uk.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2019, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)

DOI

10.3390/ijerph16101801

PMID

31117207

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.


Language: en

Keywords

bereavement; grief; interpersonal relationships; kinship; qualitative research; social support; suicide bereavement

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