The experience of bereavement among spouse and child survivors of suicide

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology

Subject Categories

Counseling Psychology


Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education


Counseling and Educational Psychology


This study explored the bereavement experience of spouse and child survivors, who are left behind by people who committed suicide in Kerala, India. The respondents of the study consisted of 8 spouses and 8 children who were bereaved by suicide. Four of them were paired mother and children while four of them were non-paired. This study made use of qualitative research design and case study research method was used to collect and interpret the data. It specifically explored the bereavement experiences of spouses and child survivors of suicide, the factors influencing bereavement, coping strategies and the stages of bereavement specific for child and spouse survivors of suicide. The findings indicated that the bereavement of spouses and child survivors of suicide were multifaceted. The experience of bereavement had cognitive, emotional, physical and social reactions. Factors such as mode of death, stigma associated with suicide and quality of relationship influenced the bereavement of spouses and children. Both positive and negative strategies were used to cope with the experience of bereavement by the respondents. The stages of bereavement were explored and the result indicated that the both spouse and child survivors went through four different stages which are highly fluid and oscillating. The empirically derived stages for spouses and children shared more similarities than differences except in the third stage where spouses demonstrated acceptance of reality of death while children had recurring thoughts related to the deceased parents. Based on the result guidelines for postvention were also proposed.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

1 computer optical disc ; 4 3/4 in.


Bereaved persons--India; Bereavement—Psychological aspects; Suicide victims--India

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