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Sense of presence experiences and meaning-making in bereavement: A qualitative analysis

Steffen, E and Coyle, A (2011) Sense of presence experiences and meaning-making in bereavement: A qualitative analysis Death Studies, 35 (7). pp. 579-609.

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This qualitative study aimed to explore the potential role that might be played by the reported experience of ‘sensing the presence of the deceased’ in meaning-making processes in bereavement. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 12 participants who reported having had such an experience and the transcripts were subjected to thematic analysis. Seven overarching themes were identified, 3 of which were considered central: ‘finding benefit in the continuation of the deceased’, ‘finding benefit in the continued relationship’, and ‘finding meaning through existential, spiritual, and religious sense-making’. While participants found many benefits in what they experienced, finding meaning beyond immediate coping seemed to require the availability of spiritual/religious frameworks that could be adopted or, if available but discrepant, could meaningfully accommodate the experience.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Steffen, E
Coyle, A
Date : 27 June 2011
DOI : 10.1080/07481187.2011.584758
Related URLs :
Additional Information : This is an electronic version of an article published in Death Studies, 35 (7), p579-609, June 2011. Death Studies is available online at: with the open URL of
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 01 Dec 2011 15:44
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 14:15

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