Parental bereavement after suicide and accident: a comparative study

Suicide Life Threat Behav. Winter 1995;25(4):489-92.

Abstract

In what way is the bereavement process following suicide different from other types of bereavement? The participants were 30 survivors of suicide and 30 survivors of car accidents who were interviewed twice at an average of six months, and the second measure was taken at an average of nine months after the death, with standardized questionnaires to measure depression and grief reaction. Measures of shame, social support, family adaptation, psychological distress, and prior losses were also obtained during the second interview. All survivors were parents who had lost a son aged between 18 and 35 years. The results indicate that suicide survivors were more depressed than accident survivors at the first measure but this difference disappeared at the second measure. Survivors of suicide experienced greater feelings of shame and had experienced more life events after the death than did accident survivors. There was also a greater history of loss in parents bereaved by suicide. Parental bereavement after suicide appears to differ in several ways from other types of bereavement and appears to happen more often in vulnerable families.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality
  • Accidents, Traffic / psychology*
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bereavement*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Shame
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Survival / psychology