Stigmatization and Suicide Bereavement

Sociology Department, Nassau Community College, Garden City, New York, USA.
Death Studies (Impact Factor: 0.92). 09/2009; 33(7):591-608. DOI: 10.1080/07481180902979973
Source: PubMed


With survey data collected primarily from peer support group participants, the authors compared stigmatization responses of 462 parents losing children to suicide with 54 other traumatic death survivors and 24 child natural death survivors. Parents who encountered harmful responses and strained relations with family members and non-kin reported heightened grief difficulties. After controlling for time since the death and whether a child's death was traumatic or not, stigmatization continued to be associated with grief difficulties, depression, and suicidal thinking. Suicide survivors reported little differences in stigmatization from other-traumatic-death survivors, a result consistent with other recent studies, suggesting more convergence between these two populations than divergence.

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    • "While such inquiry is essential, mental health practitioners likely overlook an equally important domain, namely, any sense of positive change, transformation, or growth that survivors experience. When scholars set out to explore suicide survivors' experiences in an open-ended manner, they found some evidence of posttraumatic growth in this population (Feigelman et al., 2009; Smith et al., 2011). One implication for the profession is a need to inquire about any sense of change or transformation that suicide survivors experience in the aftermath of their loss, and to normalize the concept of growth or other positive sequelae. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study sought to explore the phenomenon of peer counseling in suicide bereavement by addressing the question, what are the lived experiences of suicide survivors who become peer counselors? Participants were 15 individuals bereaved through suicide who had been volunteering with others bereaved in the same manner. This research employed the interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) approach to provide a detailed description of participants' journeys that went from experiencing the suicide of a loved one, to the decision to become a peer counselor, to, finally, providing support to other survivors. The findings suggest that participants understand the provision of peer counseling as a transformative process. Being a peer counselor means actively challenging the silence around suicide by speaking out about suicide-related issues and offering other survivors a safe space to share their stories. The broader implications of these findings for suicide postvention research and clinical practice are addressed.
    OMEGA--Journal of Death and Dying 10/2014; 69(2):151-68. DOI:10.2190/OM.69.2.d · 0.44 Impact Factor
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    • "It is shocking, painful, unexpected, and more challenging for several reasons.[3] For example, suicide can isolate the survivors from their community and even from other family members,[89] a situation exacerbated by stigma,[10] or the survivors may experience mixed emotions. On one hand, the suicidal act may seem like an assault on or a rejection of those left behind.[3] "
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    ABSTRACT: It is estimated that approximately one in four people know someone who has taken their own life and that one suicide death leaves six or more suicide survivors. The aim of this paper was to review the literature regarding the association between suicide and bereavement, focusing also on the supportive and therapeutic resources available for survivors. Careful MedLine and PsycINFO searches for the period 1980-2013. The review of the literature indicates that emotional turmoil in suicide survivors may last a long time and, in some cases, may end with their own suicide. Future research should evaluate the efficacy of professional treatments and of support groups targeting suicide survivors. It is crucial to understand the bereavement process after the suicide of a significant other in order to provide proper care, reduce stigma, and improve the outcomes of related psychiatric conditions.
    Indian Journal of Psychiatry 03/2013; 55(3):256-263. DOI:10.4103/0019-5545.117145
    • "These items have face validity but are also repetitive, which unfortunately does little to clarify the most important elements in stigmatization. Feigelman et al. (2009), following a sociological definition of stigma as it ''refers to a deeply discrediting attribute, reducing a person from a whole and usual person to a tainted and discounted one'' (Goffman, 1963), developed a measure of stigmatization by asking survivors open-ended questions where they could indicate the acts of stigmatization they had encountered since the death of their loved one. In their study the authors tested whether more stigmatization from significant others was associated with greater grief difficulties than other survivors of untimely deaths. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed at validating two new assessment tools, the Stigma of Suicide Attempt (STOSA) scale and the Stigma of Suicide and Suicide Survivor (STOSASS) scale. The Devaluation-Discrimination scale of Link et al. was translated into Italian and adapted to measure stigma towards suicidal behavior. Both scales were administered to a mixed sample including members of the general population (n=282), patients with a mental disorder (n=113), suicide attempters (n=57) and people who had lost a significant other to suicide (n=75). Reliability of the scales was good in terms of both internal coherence and test-retest stability. Factor analysis produced an acceptable solution for the STOSA-scale. Items were distributed into two factors, one grouping items to measure supportive, respectful and caring attitudes, the other factor grouping items oriented towards stigmatizing attitudes and beliefs. The clinical populations were more inclined towards stigmatization of suicide than were people from the general population, who might be less aware of the stigma attached to suicide. The two scales may be helpful to quantify stigma at individual level in order to provide targeted supportive interventions, and at population level to measure changes in the beliefs and attitudes of the general population.
    Psychiatry Research 07/2012; 200(2-3). DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2012.06.033 · 2.47 Impact Factor
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