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När pappa tog sitt liv: En narrativ studie av fyra unga kvinnors berättelser om erfarenheten av att under tonåren ha förlorat sin pappa i självmord
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2010 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Grief research generally demonstrates that children and teenagers who have lost a parent in suiciderisk developing severe psychological and physical morbidity, as well as social disabilities, in adultlife as a result of traumatic aspects of the death and complicated grief reactions. The youngbereaved also run a highly increased risk of developing suicidal behaviour or to commit suicidethemselves. Despite these alarming reports, the research field is poorly explored and studies thattake an interest in the long-term consequences and the subjective experiences of the bereavedyoungsters are lacking. A qualitative study using narrative methods has been carried out toexamine the experiences of four young women, who during adolescence lost a father in suicide.The study specifically focuses on the grief process, the short- and long-term consequences, and theneed for social support in relation to family, extended network and society. The study reveals thatthe women’s traumatic loss has shattered their basic assumptions about the world as a safe andmeaningful place. A fear of losing another significant person, i.e. the remaining parent, siblings ora life partner is also a common denominator. The women have experienced complicated griefreactions such as guilt, shame, anger, feelings of abandonment and “why-questions” regardingtheir fathers’ suicide motives. They have found it difficult to receive social support due to moralaspects of suicide as a death cause – sometimes even within their own family – and due to a fear ofbeing condemned or regarded abnormal if they told others about their trauma. The time aspect isnot found to have affected the grief process. This process has been facilitated, however, throughsocial support from family, relatives, friends and professionals. Moreover, “sense-making”, or thecapacity to construct an understanding of the loss experience, as well as the active process of“re-membering”, has been found valuable in the grief process as it contributes to the constructionof an inner representation of the father. A continued relationship to the father after his death has inmost cases been regarded as helpful in the grief process. The women describe that the father’ssuicide has affected their self-conception and their life contents. Coping with the loss the womenseem to have developed stronger self-esteem, but at the same time some of them have come toregard themselves as “odd” and more mature in comparison with their peers. All women talk abouttheir fathers’ deaths with high actuality, indicating that the grief is most present. The womendescribe a re-priority of what they find important in life; close relationships are portrayed as moreimportant, as well as being helpful to others.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. , 125 p.
Keyword [en]
adolescence, bereavement, grief, narrative method, parental suicide, traumatic loss
National Category
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-42533OAI: diva2:349392
2010-08-27, Institutionen för socialt arbete, Stockholm, 10:02 (Swedish)
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2010-09-23 Created: 2010-09-07 Last updated: 2010-09-23Bibliographically approved

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