“Nobody Talks about Suicide, Except if They're Kidding”

Disenfranchised and re-enfranchised grief and coping strategies in peer suicide grievers

Authored by: Tanetta Andersson

Routledge International Handbook of Clinical Suicide Research

Print publication date:  October  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415530125
eBook ISBN: 9780203795583
Adobe ISBN: 9781134459292


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Since Durkheim's ([1897]1979) classic study, sociologists have understood that while suicide appears to be a highly personal and private act, it is also a social act. Today, nearly 37,000 Americans die by suicide annually (American Association of Suicidology, 2012). Experts estimate that every suicide intimately affects at least six individuals, both family members and friends, connected to the suicide decedent (Shneidman, 1969). A central question in the field of suicide bereavement is how suicide grief differs from other types of loss (Jordan, 2001). However, this focus has restricted suicide grievers studied to next-of-kin relationships, despite emphasis that suicide grievers constitute several populations (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2010). By investigating suicide loss in peer relationships through a qualitative study, this study serves to diversify scholarly inquiry of suicide grief. Moreover, employing the disenfranchised grief framework (Doka, 1989; 2002) as a theoretical lens emphasizes the sociality of suicide loss, especially in terms of relational status and stigmatized dimensions of death by suicide (Charmaz & Milligan, 2006).

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