This article presents the results of a qualitative study aiming to consider the relationship between ambiguous loss and anticipatory mourning amongst relatives of missing people in Italy. Eight people participated in the research, narrating their experiences of losing a beloved person (one found alive, three found dead, and four still missing). Findings suggest the presence of a particular form of ambiguous loss, characterised by traits typical of both prolonged and traumatic grief. These findings describe how families are faced with an emotional vortex related to a never-ending wait, and how the mourning is solved only when the missing person is found dead or alive. The discovery of a corpse is traumatic but it allows mourners to fully recognise their grief. When a person is found, it changes the relationship in a positive way. When neither of these events happen, mourners have two different kinds of reactions: they experience either a prolonged grief or a drive to solve their suffering by helping other people (post-traumatic growth). In this study, it is highlighted how a community can be useful or detrimental in this process, and the importance of psychological and social support to prevent significant clinical outcomes is stressed.

The endless grief in waiting: A qualitative study of the relationship between ambiguous loss and anticipatory mourning amongst the relatives of missing persons in Italy

Testoni I.
;
Franco C.;Palazzo L.;Iacona E.;Zamperini A.;
2020

Abstract

This article presents the results of a qualitative study aiming to consider the relationship between ambiguous loss and anticipatory mourning amongst relatives of missing people in Italy. Eight people participated in the research, narrating their experiences of losing a beloved person (one found alive, three found dead, and four still missing). Findings suggest the presence of a particular form of ambiguous loss, characterised by traits typical of both prolonged and traumatic grief. These findings describe how families are faced with an emotional vortex related to a never-ending wait, and how the mourning is solved only when the missing person is found dead or alive. The discovery of a corpse is traumatic but it allows mourners to fully recognise their grief. When a person is found, it changes the relationship in a positive way. When neither of these events happen, mourners have two different kinds of reactions: they experience either a prolonged grief or a drive to solve their suffering by helping other people (post-traumatic growth). In this study, it is highlighted how a community can be useful or detrimental in this process, and the importance of psychological and social support to prevent significant clinical outcomes is stressed.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3358394
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