Perceptions of survivors of loss by homicide: opportunities for nursing practice

J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. 2008 May;46(5):26-34. doi: 10.3928/02793695-20080501-02.


Ten adult family members of homicide victims were recruited to participate in interviews describing their experiences related to the loss of their loved ones. A phenomenological approach was used to guide data collection and analysis, resulting in the identification of four major themes. Participants described intense emotional responses and grief complicated by the suddenness, violence, and intentionality of the homicide; engagement in activities that both buffered the emotional effects of the loss and helped them purposefully integrate it into their lives; the strengthening and dissolution of relationships; and a transformative, perpetually evolving post-homicide experience that was viewed as "healing" and that was influenced by many factors. Implications of these findings for research and nursing practice are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Grief
  • Homicide / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / prevention & control
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • United States