Life after death: An interpretative phenomenological study of men who have experienced a sudden bereavement
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AffiliationFaculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing
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AbstractThe presented study investigated the lived experience of suddenly bereaved men. The aim was to identify the felt impact of such a phenomenon, including the meaning men ascribed to their experience, and to provide insight into interventions which participants recognised as helpful and unhelpful in their bereavement. Three men whose wives had died of natural causes within six weeks of admission to a hospital critical care setting, volunteered to be interviewed. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis methodology was adhered to throughout the research process and used to develop themes which represented participants’ experiences. Three super-ordinate themes emerged, focussing on meaningful aspects of participants’ experiences. Firstly, ‘Sudden Loss’ details the impact of the suddenness of the loss and the resulting emotional impact, including the occurrence of an apparent ambivalence towards aspects of social support. The second super-ordinate theme, ‘Transitioning Self’ brought together features of participants’ experiences which were key within the process of transition to a new reality without their wives, including adaptions to their sense of self, re-evaluation of their lives and the felt impact of social influences on their grief. Lastly, the ‘Supporting Transition’ theme highlights facets which were supportive in navigating their journey post-bereavement. The findings illustrated the lived experience of a sudden bereavement impacted across multiple aspects of participants lives, including their sense of self, independent futures and considerations for social elements. Conflicting views within their experiences were also impactful within participants’ mourning. Implications for Counselling Psychology and professional practice are discussed, highlighting issues surrounding the reduction of social stigma regarding the demonstration of emotion in men’s mourning and the supportive value of continued bonds post-bereavement. Suggestions for future research are also identified.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionThesis submitted in partial fulfilment for the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology.
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