Mark Macor, Psy.D., is a 2018 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England
- Roger Peterson, PhD, ABPP, Committee Chair
- Martha Straus, PhD, Committee Member
- Barbara Belcher-Timme, PsyD, Committee Member
suicide, sibling, attachment, family, bereavement
The following qualitative study retrospectively explored the adolescent experiences and reactions of adult survivors to their loss of a sibling to suicide. The study employed Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to inform subsequent interpretation of interview data collected from a sample of five adult sibling survivors of suicide. Criteria for an individual’s participation included being of at least 25 years old at the time of the interview and that they experienced the loss of a sibling to suicide while they themselves were between the ages of 12 and 21 years old. Participant responses to an attachment self-report measure—Attachment Style Questionnaire (Feeney, Noller, & Hanrahan, 1994)—were also collected. Interview transcript analysis provided the framework for exploring how attachment behavior, viewed through a systems-oriented lens, influenced the bereavement process for these individuals. Key concepts for understanding the various components of the research were defined, including an explanation of attachment theory and the systems framework that was used to conceptualize the research. Participant accounts and research findings detailed the surviving sibling’s experiences of feeling overlooked and dismissed in the time following their sibling’s death and of feeling unaware, uninformed, or excluded from knowledge of happenings within their family related to their sibling. Other findings of the research included that sibling survivors of suicide may make efforts to seek support from others outside the surviving family system or instead attempt to rely on themselves to cope with and manage feelings of grief following the death of their sibling. This was found to also relate to the sibling survivor’s experience of putting emotional processing of their sibling’s death on hold. Given identified themes, the discussion section describes the contextual perceptions of the participants as they reflected on family dynamics following their loss.
Macor, M. (2018). Sibling Survivors of Suicide: A Retrospective Exploration of Familial Attachment During Bereavement. https://aura.antioch.edu/etds/410