Meaning-making through psychological autopsy interviews: the value of participating in qualitative research for those bereaved by suicide

Death Stud. 2011 Sep;35(8):685-710. doi: 10.1080/07481187.2011.553310.


Too often ethical boards delay or stop research projects with vulnerable populations, influenced by presumed rather than empirically documented vulnerability. The article investigates how participation is experienced by those bereaved by suicide. Experiences are divided into 3 groups: (a) overall positive (62%), (b) unproblematic (10%), and (c) positive and painful (28%). The positive experiences are linked to processes of meaning-making, gaining new insight, and a hope to help others. Objective factors concerning the gender of participants, their relationship to the deceased, the method of suicide, and time since loss were largely unrelated to their experience of the interview.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Awareness
  • Bereavement*
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Female
  • Grief*
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research*
  • Research Subjects / psychology
  • Sense of Coherence*
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Young Adult