Narrating ambiguous loss: deficiencies in narrative processing and negative appraisal of consequences

  • Objective: To compare narrative coping with physical and psychological ambiguous loss (AL) and definite loss in terms of distancing (vs. narrative immersion), meaning-making, and subjective biographical consequences. Methods: Thirty adults who had lost a parent to death, to going missing, or to Alzheimer disease (N = 90, 67 females; mean age 36.73 years, SD = 7.27; mean time since loss 9.0 years) narrated two loss-related and three control memories. Results: Individuals with AL were not more immersed in the loss experience, but less successful in finding meaning and in evaluating the loss and its consequences positively compared to those with a definite loss. These group differences were not due to differences in depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and protracted grief. Conclusions: Ambiguity of loss renders meaning-making and coherently narrating loss more difficult, leading to more negative affect, suggesting interventions that help narrating loss coherently in a self-accepting way.

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Author:Manxia Huang, Tilmann HabermasORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Journal of clinical psychology
Place of publication:Bognor Regis [u.a.]
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/05/18
Date of first Publication:2021/05/18
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2021/08/25
Tag:ambiguous loss; autobiographical reasoning; grief; meaning-making; narrative
Issue:online version of record before inclusion in an issue
Page Number:20
First Page:1
Last Page:20
The Fundamental Research Funds for Central Universities, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan). Grant Number: CUG2106119
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell - Keine Bearbeitung 4.0