Date of Submission
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology
Susan Panichelli Mindel, PhD, Chair
Stephen R Poteau, PhD
Terri Erbacher-Duff, PhD
Petra Kottsieper, PhD
The objective of this study was to examine whether or not (1) the quality (emotional attachment, level of psychological closeness) of the pre-mortem relationship between a suicide survivor and the deceased, and (2) the amount of guilt experienced has influenced grief reactions in suicide survivors. Specifically, complicated grief, perceived stigma, and overall quality of life were examined. Data were collected from 1130 adult participants between the ages 18 and 80, who identified as having lost someone to suicide, in a time period more than six months prior to survey completion. This dissertation's findings suggest that guilt has a detrimental impact on all investigated grief reactions in suicide survivors. Also, the perception of an emotionally close pre-morbid relationship with the decedent does significantly impact both complicated grief reactions and perceived stigma. Based on these results, it is suggested that additional supports and resources be provided to what appears to be a vastly overlooked and under-served population of suicide survivors.
Carden Dishman, Nicole, "The Influence of Perceived Relationship Quality with the Deceased, and Guilt, on Suicide Survivors' Grief Reactions" (2016). PCOM Psychology Dissertations. 357.