Cultural characteristics of grief and coping in bereaved adult women: A phenomenological study with consensual qualitative research

Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Sciences, Turkey

Approval Date: 2014




This study aimed to describe the experiences, expressions, and coping mechanisms of American and Turkish adult women’s bereavement and grief upon loss of a loved one. For this purpose, two Consensual Qualitative Analyses (CQR) were conducted with the woman participants from the USA (n=10) and Turkey (n=10). A semi-structured interview protocol including open-ended questions were used to gather qualitative data. Categories and subcategories revealed by the qualitative data were clustered in the three domains: (1) Loss and grief experiences and expressions, (2) Coping, (3) Changes and adaptation. Totally, there were 17 categories and 19 subcategories found for the CQR conducted among the participants from the USA. Similarly, Turkish participants’ descriptions yielded 24 categories and 12 subcategories at total. The first domain commonly involved the categories of closeness with the deceased person, characteristics of the deceased and bereaved, reason of death, story of death and dying, funeral details and procedures, feelings and thoughts, metaphors and phrases, and previous losses. The coping domain commonly involved social support, professional help, sharing the emotions and memories, coping mechanisms, rituals and activities. The last domain, changes and adaptation commonly included changes in life, learning from the experience, and support to others. Along with the commonalities, there were differences that mainly referred to differences in funeral experiences and rituals of the participants from two cultures. Results were discussed in the context of contemporary models (e.g. Dual Process Model, The Meaning Reconstruction Model) and concepts (e.g. continuing bonds, making sense of loss) of bereavement and grief research. Potential benefits of cultural knowledge in counseling was emphasized. Implications for theory and practice for bereavement research and counseling were considered