Exploring Maternal Grief: A Mixed-Methods Investigation of Mothers' Responses to the Death of a Child From Cancer

N.J. Gerrish, R.A. Neimeyer, Susan Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study investigated the meaning-making phenomena underlying the responses of 13 bereaved mothers to the death of a child from cancer. Using a mixed-methods research design incorporating constructivist data collection methods, we found specific characteristics, coping processes, and factors to distinguish adaptive as opposed to complicated grief responses to this type of loss. However, the findings did not distinguish the bereaved mothers themselves as "adaptive" or "complicated grievers," as they all evidenced both types of responses to their loss within or across different datasets. Despite this finding, the mothers' results varied in terms of the proportions of adaptive as compared to complicated grief responses to their loss, which in turn were related to features of their self-construing, change or reinforcement of their world assumptions, ongoing relationship to their child and others in their social world, and management of loss- and restoration-oriented coping. Results suggest the utility of constructivist and cognitive coping models and methods in illuminating the experience of parental bereavement. © 2014 Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-173
JournalJournal of Constructivist Psychology
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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