A Qualitative Systematic Review of the Bereavement Process Following Suicide

Chris Shields, Michele Kavanagh, Kate Russo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the fact that a large number of people are bereaved by suicide each year, the experiences of those bereaved by suicide are poorly understood. It has been suggested that a contributing factor in relation to this lack of understanding has been the use of quantitative methods, which may not be sensitive to the bereavement process and its thematic content. Therefore, the current article outlines a systematic review of 11 qualitative studies that address issues related to the bereavement process following suicide. The results indicate that those bereaved by suicide encounter a range of difficult feelings following suicide including blame, guilt, and emptiness and that these feelings are affected by participants’ ability to make meaning of the event. The meaning-making process is a complex one that occurs within a difficult social context in which both those bereaved by suicide and members of the wider community struggle to interact with each other in a beneficial way. Clinical implications of these findings are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOMEGA: Journal of Death and Dying
Early online date08 Nov 2016
Publication statusEarly online date - 08 Nov 2016


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