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Journal Articles International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health Year : 2022

Lived Experiences of Suicide Bereavement within Families: A Qualitative Study


Backround: The lifetime prevalence of suicide exposure in the family is estimated at 3.8% in the general population. Familial bonds can constitute a crucial factor in determining individual bereavement outcomes via the interactional and communicational aspects of the bereavement process within the family. However, the literature on the lived experiences of suicide bereavement within the family remains scarce. Method: Our objectives were to qualitatively (a) assess the impact of suicide on different types of family members, (b) evaluate the interactions between the familial and individual bereavement processes, and (c) obtain precise insights into the familial interactions that occur following a suicide. We performed a qualitative study by conducting semidirected interviews with family members who had been bereaved by suicide. Computer-based and manual thematic analyses were used for data analysis. In order to mitigate biases related to the qualitative design of the data collection, two main measures were undertaken, namely triangulation and saturation. Results: Sixteen family members bereaved by suicide participated in our study, including a majority of women (n = 12). Mean age of participants was 56.4 and mean duration of suicide bereavement was 10.5 years. Most of the relatives deceased by suicide were middle-aged men who died by hanging or firearm. A total of six themes emerged from the analyses, namely (1) “familial trauma”, (2) “external adversity”, (3) “individual bereavement and familial interactions”, (4) “communicational and relational processes within the family”, (5) “perceived help and support within the family” and (6) “evolution over time”. Conclusion: We reported that suicide bereavement significantly impacts internal familial interactions via complex emotional and communication processes. Family conflicts, taboos or cohesion can occur in the aftermath of a suicide. We also found that familial coping strategies can shape individual reactions to the death on the part of each member of the family.
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Dates and versions

hal-04011473 , version 1 (15-05-2024)



Clémence Creuzé, Laurène Lestienne, Maxime Vieux, Benoit Chalancon, Emmanuel Poulet, et al.. Lived Experiences of Suicide Bereavement within Families: A Qualitative Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2022, 19 (20), pp.13070. ⟨10.3390/ijerph192013070⟩. ⟨hal-04011473⟩
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