Robert A Neimeyer

Robert A Neimeyer
The University of Memphis | U of M · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

447
Publications
340,028
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
20,093
Citations

Publications

Publications (447)
Article
Full-text available
Rationale Many psychedelic experiences are meaningful, but ineffable. Engaging in meaning-making regarding emerging symbolic content and changing previous schemas have been proposed as mechanisms of change in psychedelic therapy. Objective Firstly, we suggest the implementation of a Restorative Retelling (RR) technique to process and integrate the...
Article
In view of the mounting death toll of COVID-19 worldwide and the complicating circumstances that commonly accompany such losses, we studied the grief experiences of 209 adult mourners who lost a loved one to coronavirus with a focus on self-blaming emotions and unresolved issues with the deceased. We found universal endorsement of one or more forms...
Article
Full-text available
Breast cancer (BC) in women under 50 is a potentially traumatic experience that can upset a woman’s life during a crucial phase of her lifespan. Anticipatory mourning linked to the diagnosis of BC can produce a series of inevitable losses similar to those of the bereaved. Narration can be one tool to construct meaning, to grow through the experienc...
Article
Full-text available
The unexpected death of a child is one of the most challenging losses as it fractures survivors’ sense of parenthood and other layers of identity. Given that not all the bereaved parents who have need for support respond well to available treatments and that many have little access to further intervention or follow-up over time, online intervention...
Article
Full-text available
Losing a loved one through death is known to be one of the most challenging life events. To help the bereaved and their therapists monitor and better understand the factors that contribute to Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD), we co-designed and studied a web-based explainable AI screening system named “Grief Inquiries Following Tragedy (GIFT).” We us...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Bereavement is an inevitable event that can cause pain, discomfort, and negative consequences in daily life. Spirituality and religiosity can help people cope with loss and bereavement. Sometimes, however, the death of a loved one can challenge core religious beliefs and faith, which has been found to be a risk factor for prolonged mou...
Article
Full-text available
Objective Recognizing important bereavement-related needs among sudden loss survivors (e.g., suicide, overdose)—a population that is burgeoning and at risk for deleterious outcomes—is a critical task as needs may reflect modifiable grief-related variables that can assist with post-loss adjustment. Methods Latent profile analysis was used among 347...
Article
Full-text available
The main objective of this study is to investigate the relation of daily spiritual experiences to multifaceted meaning making in bereavement, and the role of social validation of sense making in mediating this effect. The sample includes 348 people who have lost a loved one in the last two years. Three tools are used and validated in the Italian co...
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with significant social changes due to legislative and public health requirements, has changed the way in which people experience grief. We examined whether dysfunctional grief symptoms, disrupted meaning, risk factors, and functional impairment differed between people bereaved from COVID-19 and from other natural or...
Article
This study examined the relationship between reactions of the bereaved to conditions of the pandemic and severity of their grief and levels of impairment. A total of 831 American adults who lost a loved one to COVID-19 responded to validated measures of dysfunctional grief and functional impairment, as well as items assessing unique complications a...
Article
Meaning-oriented approaches to grief therapy have made substantial contributions by defining the internal processes of meaning-making and, more recently, clinical scholars have introduced relational approaches as means for continuing bonds with the deceased and increasing social support for the bereaved. However, the complicated interactive process...
Article
Background: Meeting the needs of people bereaved by COVID-19 poses a substantial challenge to palliative care. The Pandemic Grief Scale (PGS) is a 5-item mental health screener to identify probable cases of dysfunctional grief during the pandemic. Objective: The PGS has strong psychometric and diagnostic features. The objective was to examine the...
Article
Context People bereaved from COVID-19 report higher levels of grief than people bereaved from natural causes. The full impact of this onslaught of grief will not be known for some time. Ensuring high quality bereavement care in the context of COVID-19 presents unprecedented challenges to end-of-life care. Objectives We aimed to determine how psych...
Book
Full-text available
Superhero Grief uses modern superhero narratives to teach the principles of grief theories and concepts and provide practical ideas for promoting healing. Chapters offer clinical strategies, approaches, and interventions, including strategies based in expressive arts and complementary therapies. Leading researchers, clinicians, and professionals a...
Article
Millions of people are grieving the loss of someone who died of COVID-19. However, there have been no screening tools developed to identify individuals who may be suffering from dysfunctional grief during the pandemic. Therefore, the objective of this study was to develop and evaluate the properties of the Pandemic Grief Scale (PGS), which is a bri...
Article
Full-text available
Background The aim of this research was to examine core belief violation and disrupted meaning making as primary cognitive processes regulating mental health during the pandemic. The study tested the hypothesis that both these cognitive processes function as mediating mechanisms, accounting for the adverse mental health effects of multiple pandemic...
Article
This study examined core belief violation and meaning making as mechanisms mediating the relationship between adherence to social isolation policies for mitigating coronavirus transmission and reduced coronavirus anxiety (CA). Adherence to social isolation policies (social distancing, sheltering in place, and cessation of long-distance travel), use...
Article
Background Prior research has demonstrated that the presence of regret and unfinished business is associated with poorer adjustment in bereavement. Though there is a growing literature on these constructs among caregivers of adult patients, the literature on regret and unfinished business in bereaved parents has been limited. Aim The aim of this s...
Article
The FIND (Feedback Initiated Narrative Development) protocol was designed to foster the availability of clients’ resources in psychotherapy. This protocol consists of two brief interviews and an observation of an early psychotherapy session, centered on the elicitation of the client’s personal resources. The contents of both the interviews and the...
Chapter
This chapter characterizes meaning-making in the context of grief during bereavement, emphasizing its fundamentally social nature and offering several approaches to identifying the extent and nature of the meaning the bereaved has made of a loss. Theoretical developments and empirical research are presented to highlight the crucial role that meanin...
Article
This study aimed to test the hypothesis that meaning making is a mediating process in the relationship between risk factors for prolonged grief disorder (PGD) and subsequent emergence of PGD symptomatology. A survey design was employed with prospective measurement of PGD. The following variables were assessed 2-12 months postloss among adults acros...
Article
When grief over the death of a loved one becomes complicated, protracted and circular, ruminative counterfactual thinking in which the bereaved relentlessly but vainly seeks to somehow reverse the tragedy of the loss often plays a contributory role in sustaining the person’s suffering. In this article we summarize the growing evidence implicating t...
Article
The authors present the development and validation of the Coping Assessment for Bereavement and Loss Experiences (CABLE), the first instrument designed to assess a range of potentially constructive strategies for coping with grief following the death of a loved one. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis with an international sample of bereav...
Article
Spirituality has long served as a source of solace for many grievers following a loss. For other mourners, whose bereavement experience has been significantly challenged by struggles in their relationship with God and/or their faith community, the opposite is true. Complicated spiritual grief (CSG) is a spiritual crisis following the loss of a love...
Article
The recent upsurge in the use of qualitative empirical studies, aiming to provide a deeper understanding of human reactions to loss, requires a methodological account of how to conduct better qualitative research with regard to data collection. This paper offers six general interview guidelines aimed at assisting researchers to achieve quality inte...
Article
The loss of a loved one to homicide is associated with considerable distress, often in the form of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complicated grief (CG), and alcohol misuse. Yet alcohol-related problems and loss from a homicide are issues that disproportionally affect African Americans. The present study investigated alcohol use in a samp...
Article
Survivors of homicide loss are vulnerable to negative mental health outcomes, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complicated grief (CG). Meaning making in the aftermath of traumatic loss is hypothesized to be an adaptive process associated with reduced symptomatology. Homicide survivors (N = 57) completed the PTSD Checklist, Invento...
Article
Full-text available
Despite efforts to identify risk factors for suicide following exposure to completed suicide, research has paid less attention to the associations between exposure to nonfatal suicidal behavior (NFSB) and subsequent suicide risk among the exposed. Using path analysis, this study examined direct effects of NFSB exposure on suicide risk, as well as i...
Article
The death of a significant person, especially when it comes tragically or prematurely, can shake the foundations of our assumptive and relational world and lead to anguished attempts to find meaning in the loss and in our lives in its aftermath. In this article, I review one program of research focused on this attempt at meaning reconstruction, des...
Article
Full-text available
Objective To determine the preliminary feasibility, acceptability, and effects of Meaning-Centered Grief Therapy (MCGT) for parents who lost a child to cancer.Method Parents who lost a child to cancer and who were between six months and six years after loss and reporting elevated levels of prolonged grief were enrolled in open trials of MCGT, a man...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research examining the interrelationship between attachment, relationship quality, and bereavement outcomes suffers from a lack of precision and sophistication in the measurement of the core constructs of interest. The present study adapted an existing measure of attachment and employed a novel instrument of relationship quality to examine...
Article
Objective To address the etiology of prolonged grief disorder (PGD) by examining whether rumination moderates the role of meaning‐making in mediating the impact of PGD risk factors. Method A survey assessing PGD risk factors (low social support, insecure attachment, violent loss, neuroticism, and loss of a spouse), meaning, and rumination was admi...
Article
This study investigates the influence of age and attachment (secure, anxious-ambivalent, avoidant, and disorganized) on children’s representations of death. One hundred primary-school children, whose attachment patterns were assessed using Separation Anxiety Test, completed Düss’ funeral fable. Top-down thematic content analysis was applied by codi...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives Theoretical support for the moral injury (MI) construct is mounting, yet empirical support has lagged behind. A conceptual model has been proposed, but studies have not yet explored the constellation of symptoms within treatment‐seeking Veterans. Methods Veterans (N = 212) seeking trauma recovery services completed measures of potential...
Article
Full-text available
Suicide loss represents particularly a difficult form of bereavement due to the challenges that volitional death poses to survivors. Understanding these challenges requires recognition of the idiosyncratic processes of meaning reconstruction for this specific group of grievers. The current study investigates such processes in survivors of suicide l...
Article
Full-text available
Unresolved relational issues with the deceased have been considered a prominent risk factor for negative bereavement outcomes. However, this area of study has suffered from a lack of conceptual clarity, with some commentators focusing on bereavement-related regret and others focusing on “unfinished business,” or lingering or unspoken conflicts with...
Article
Full-text available
Although unresolved issues with the deceased are often targeted in bereavement interventions, understanding of this construct has been hampered by the lack of a psychometrically-validated scale to assess it. To address this gap, the Unfinished Business in Bereavement Scale (UBBS) was developed and tested in two samples of bereaved adults (n = 292 a...
Article
Bereavement can lead to negative outcomes such as complicated grief (CG), but some mourners with symptoms of CG often experience positive sequelae of loss such as posttraumatic growth (PTG) as well. We propose that grief and growth co-occur and change one another because they alternately reinforce and weaken each other at the level of their respect...
Article
Full-text available
A mourner’s success in making meaning of a loss has proven key in predicting a wide array of bereavement outcomes. However, much of this meaning-making process takes place in an interpersonal framework that is hypothesized to either aid or obstruct this process. To date, a psychometrically validated measure of the degree to which a mourner successf...
Chapter
Full-text available
Death and loss are universal human experiences, yet understandings of and attitudes toward expressing grief have shifted across time. The earliest psychological conceptualization of grief pathologized “holding on” to the lost object, a notion that has since been rejected in favor of a conception of continuing bonds that can be adaptive in grief. Si...
Article
Full-text available
Restorative retelling (RR) is an evidence-based procedure for facilitating adaptation following traumatic bereavement. In this paper, we introduce performative retelling (PR), a variation on RR, which fosters healing from personal losses and portrays personal reactions to collective tragedy. We describe our collaboration with an ex-offender reentry...
Article
Full-text available
What is meaningful in life? This is a question many individuals ask at least once in their lifetime. Many researchers have also asked this question, and a large body of literature seems to answer in theoretical and academic terms. But what is the meaning of meaning in clinical practice? That is, what is the role of meaning in psychotherapy, recover...
Article
Full-text available
Background The lack of a holistic approach to palliative care can lead to a fractured sense of dignity at the end of life, resulting in depression, hopelessness, feelings of being a burden to others, and the loss of the will to live among terminally ill patients. Building on the clinical foundation of Dignity Therapy, together with the empirical un...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD) is over-represented among those who have lost loved ones to violent causes. To tailor PGD interventions for this vulnerable population it is critical to examine the aetiology of PGD specifically in the context of violent death bereavement. Previous studies have suggested that violent loss increases symptom...
Article
Full-text available
Despite efforts to identify risk factors following exposure to completed suicide, research has paid less attention to the associations between exposure to non-fatal suicide behavior (NFSB) and mental health symptomatology—factors that may underlie one’s susceptibility to future suicidal thoughts and behaviors. This study examined differences in men...
Chapter
Bereavement, understood as the loss of a significant person through death, can challenge the mourner’s self-narrative in a way that requires active meaning reconstruction to revise or reinstate a sense of significance and security. When this natural process of making sense of the death and one’s life in its aftermath is complicated, meaning-oriente...
Article
Composition work is an artistic method of work with identity and emotions, used in therapy, counseling, coaching, and training. Practiced in the context of constructivist counseling and grounded in dialogical self theory, it involves representation of a community of self or I-positions reflecting different aspects of one's identity through the use...
Article
Full-text available
With mounting empirical evidence that interpersonal closeness and conflict with the deceased prior to death are significant predictors of grief reactions following loss, accurate empirical examination of these two constructs is of high importance. Despite the utility of the Quality of Relationships Inventory (QRI) in numerous domains of research, t...
Article
As detailed in the lead article in this Special Issue, the Survivors of Suicide Loss Task Force of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention in the United States has recently worked to formulate national guidelines to mitigate the harmful after-effects of suicide in social and family systems. In the present article, we elaborate on one of...
Article
Many bereavement researchers focus on predicting and preventing complicated grief (CG), a psychologically crippling, sometimes life-threatening response to loss that persists for lengthy periods, often with serious health consequences. Reviews of studies have identified specific risk factors (e.g., low social support, insecure attachment style) tha...
Chapter
Of all the sources of suffering in human life, the encounter with the tragic deaths of loved ones must be among the most compelling. Adopting the view that grieving involves as a central process the attempt to reaffirm or reconstruct a world of meaning that has been challenged by loss, I briefly review the evidence linking an anguished search for m...
Article
Full-text available
One key focus of a meaning reconstruction model of bereavement concerns spiritual meanings attributed to the death, whether consoling or troubling. Specifically, previous studies in our research program suggest that religiously inclined violent death survivors are at risk for elevated levels of both bereavement distress and complicated spiritual gr...
Article