This article examines how varieties of the continuing relationship to the deceased child are associated with life functioning among bereaved parents. The research employed a longitudinal design utilizing both quantitative and qualitative research methodology. Six bereaved parents who lost sons in war and who had extensive interview material and research protocols spaced 10 years apart were selected for this study. Half had improved over time and half had not improved or deteriorated. Analyses of the ongoing relationship to the deceased focused upon: (a) perceptions of the deceased and (b) nature of the ongoing relationship to the deceased son. On perception, parents who improved tended to describe their sons in very favorable terms. The parents whose condition remained static or deteriorated tended to describe their sons less positively, and with superficial and shallow descriptions. Regarding the nature of the ongoing relationship, parents whose condition improved over the years describe a close and significant relationship with the son. We conclude that while the relationship to the son continues for all the bereaved parents, it is how the deceased is recollected that is associated with the direction of bereavement outcome.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
- Life-span and Life-course Studies