Bereavement after a physician-assisted suicide: a speculation based on theory

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 1998 Fall;28(3):302-8.


Despite the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding the ban on physician-assisted suicide, the practice continues in the United States. A majority of Americans support physician-assisted suicide, and several surveys document its use by physicians and nurses. This article explores the anticipated bereavement experience of significant survivors following a physician-assisted suicide. Theoretical approaches to bereavement frame the discussion of possible reactions to suicidal death: (1) psychodynamic, (2) attachment theory, (3) crisis theory, and (4) cognitive theory. Three case scenarios illustrate potential survivor reactions, with suggested intervention approaches.

MeSH terms

  • Bereavement*
  • Humans
  • Psychological Theory
  • Suicide, Assisted*