A survey of continuing bonds in bereavement with a focus on the pre-death relationship quality and closeness as well as differences in individualism and collectivism

  • Steffen, Edith (PI)

Project Details

Layman's description

Background: The term ‘continuing bonds’ describes the phenomenon that people tend to stay emotionally attached to their loved ones beyond death and continue their relationship with the deceased in various ways, for example through remembering and commemorating the deceased, through talking about and to the deceased, through keeping mementos, through legacy-building, adopting the deceased’s values or manners, using the deceased as a guide, praying for and to the deceased, dreaming about the deceased, noticing meaningful synchronicities and symbolic representations of the deceased, having sensory and/or quasi-sensory experiences or a felt presence of the deceased (SED), receiving messages from the deceased and engaging in after-death communication spontaneously or with the help of a medium.

Rationale for the survey: Over the past two decades, a growing body of literature has shown that continuing bonds are a normal aspect of grief that can be helpful to the bereaved (Klass, Silverman, & Nickman, 1996; Klass & Steffen, 2018). Root and Exline (2014) observed that one aspect that has not been tested in the context of continuing bonds research is the impact of the quality of the pre-death relationship. While there has been some research into the relationship between attachment style and continuing bonds (Currier, Irish, Neimeyer, & Foster, 2015), there has been no correlational research that explores the link between the perceived quality of the pre-death relationship and various continuing bonds expressions and their emotional valence. Our study seeks to address this gap.
Effective start/end date1/06/1831/05/21