Unresolved Mourning, Supernatural Beliefs and Dissociation: A Mediation Analysis

Attach Hum Dev. 2014;16(5):499-514. doi: 10.1080/14616734.2014.926945. Epub 2014 Jun 10.


Unresolved mourning is marked by disorganized behavior and states of mind. In this study, we speculated that pathological dissociation would mediate the effects of unresolved mourning on supernatural beliefs. This hypothesis was determined based on findings that indicate an association between higher levels of dissociation, stronger beliefs in the supernatural and unresolved mourning. We examined two groups of participants, one classified as non-unresolved (non-U) (n = 56) and the other as unresolved (n = 26) (U) with respect to past loss/trauma as measured by the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI). Two self-report instruments were administered to measure supernatural beliefs and dissociation. As hypothesized, the multivariate analysis of variance indicated mean differences between the two groups. The unresolved group had greater belief in the supernatural and more pathological dissociative processes. The mediation analysis demonstrated that pathological dissociation fully mediated the effects of unresolved mourning on supernatural beliefs.

Keywords: dissociation; mediation; supernatural beliefs; unresolved mourning.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Culture*
  • Dissociative Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Grief*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Object Attachment*
  • Spirituality*