Suicide and other sudden death bereavement of immediate family members: An analysis of grief reactions six-months after death

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Kolves, Kairi
Zhao, Qing
Ross, Victoria
Hawgood, Jacinta
Spence, Susan H
de Leo, Diego
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Introduction: While suicide bereavement has been assumed to be different from bereavement following death by other modes, a number of studies have reported that there are several similarities, particularly for violent deaths. The aims of the current study are to test, using confirmatory factor analysis, the factor structure of Grief Experience Questionnaire (GEQ) that has been proposed in other studies; and to compare short term grief reactions, mental health, and suicidality six-months after bereavement in close family members bereaved by suicide versus sudden death. Methods: Participants were 142 adults who were bereaved following a suicide and 63 who were bereaved following the sudden death of a family member. Data were collected six-months after the death. Results: Analyses did not show good fits for the factor structures proposed for the GEQ in earlier studies. However, a relatively good fit was found for an 8-factor version of the originally proposed GEQ. Bereavement type (suicide vs. sudden death) significantly predicted rejection, somatic reactions, stigmatisation, responsibility and shame on the GEQ, after adjusting for kinship type, gender, age, pre-bereavement diagnosis of mental illness and self-harm behaviours of both the deceased and the bereaved, and current mental health and suicidal ideation of the bereaved. Limitations: Different recruitment methods were used and response rates were relatively low. Conclusions: The new knowledge of bereaved experiences specific to suicide loss at six-months post death, should be channelled into determining the most practical and satisfactory ways to alleviate the impacts of these potentially changeable states of experience.

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Journal of Affective Disorders

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© 2019 Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, providing that the work is properly cited.

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