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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24746

Title: An Exploration of the Impact on Individuals Who Have Experienced Multiple Losses From Death Over Time
Authors: Elmslie, Pamela Anne
Advisor: Chen, Charles
Department: Adult Education and Counselling Psychology
Keywords: multiple losses
bereavement
meaning-making in loss
narrative research
Issue Date: 12-Aug-2010
Abstract: The study explores the experience of individuals who have lost a number of close people in their life, through death, over the course of their adult lifetime. Twelve individual interviews (11 women, 1 man) are presented in narrative form and explored for their content and meaning. The experience of multiple loss was revealed to be unique and varied for each participant and each loss was experienced independently from the others, concomitant on the relationship to the deceased, the nature and timing of the death and the relevance to the participant’s identity. Similar themes occurred across and within cases that are attributable to having lost a number of close others. Common effects were seen in participants’ experiential knowledge of grief and its vicissitudes, death and its processes, and life and its meaningfulness. Participants believed that their losses have had a profound effect on them, changing their lives immutably. Changes were perceived in terms of impact on the way they view the world, themselves and their relationships. Individuals perceived both positive and negative effects. Analogous with current research and theories in the field many of the participants reported experiencing personal growth as a result of their losses. The present study extends past research findings by attributing these effects to the accumulation of losses. A model for understanding the process of meaning-making in multiple loss was devised. Respondents were apt to process one death at a time, incorporate its meanings and effects on them, compare the effects to each other by contrasting the distinct experiences, and create a framework for meaning that was mutable. There were typical features of these meanings that were characteristic to the tone of the narrative. Stories of multiple loss tended to have an unresolved, a transformational or a growth related tone. An enhanced model of meaning- making in loss is described that augments current models of meaning-making in coping with loss. The implications of these findings for theory and practice are discussed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24746
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology - Doctoral theses

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