Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/9204
Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Mothers continuing bonds and ambivalence to personal mortality after the death of their child - An interpretative phenomenological analysis
Authors: Harper, Mairi
O'Connor, Rory
Dickson, Adele
O'Carroll, Ronan
Contact Email: ronan.ocarroll@stir.ac.uk
Keywords: bereavement
parents
coping
continuing bonds
suicidal ideation
Issue Date: Mar-2011
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Citation: Harper M, O'Connor R, Dickson A & O'Carroll R (2011) Mothers continuing bonds and ambivalence to personal mortality after the death of their child - An interpretative phenomenological analysis, Psychology, Health and Medicine, 16 (2), pp. 203-214.
Abstract: The main objective of this study was to identify how bereaved mothers describe their coping strategies in their own words. The literature on parental bereavement is sparse, and the present study aims to add to existing knowledge by eliciting the mothers' experiences covering a wide range of child ages including infants, younger children and adults. Semi-structured interviews were held with 13 bereaved mothers in the UK. Causes of death include accident, illness and suicide. The methodological approach was interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). This article reports two inter-related recurrent themes: (1) Continuing the bond with the deceased child and (2) Ambivalence to personal mortality. Participants reported that the relationship with their child was continued in a variety of ways, from tending to the grave and the child's remains, through linking objects or by establishing a symbolic representation of the child within their daily lives. All mothers talked openly about their own mortality, either demonstrating ambivalence about their own death, or expressing clear suicidal ideation. Death was seen as a release from living with the pain of loss. The presence of surviving siblings appeared to moderate suicidal ideation, but mothers expressed concerns about their ability to care adequately for other family members during times of intense grief.
Type: Journal Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/9204
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13548506.2010.532558
Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Affiliation: HS UG Regulated - Stirling
Psychology
Psychology
Psychology

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