Devastating Losses

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Sample Chapter: Chapter 1

Devastating Losses

SKU# 9780826107466

How Parents Cope With the Death of a Child to Suicide or Drugs

Author: William Feigelman Ph.D., Beverly Feigelman LCSW, John Jordan Ph.D., John McIntosh Ph.D.


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This book fills a critical gap in our scientific understanding of the grief response of parents who have lost a child to traumatic death and the psychotherapeutic strategies that best facilitate healing. It is based on the results of the largest study ever conducted of parents surviving a child?s traumatic death or suicide. The book was conceived by William and Beverly Feigelman following their own devastating loss of a son, and written from the perspective of their experiences as both suicide-survivor support group participants and facilitators. It intertwines data, insight, and critical learning gathered from research with the voices of the 575 survivors who participated in the study.

The text emphasizes the sociological underpinnings of survivors? grief and provides data that vividly documents their critical need for emotional support. It explains how bereavement difficulties can be exacerbated by stigmatization, and by the failure of significant others to provide expected support. Also explored in depth are the ways in which couples adapt to the traumatic loss of a child and how this can bring them closer or render their relationship irreparable. Findings suggest that with time and peer support affiliations, most traumatically bereaved parents ultimately demonstrate resilience and find meaningful new roles for themselves, helping the newly bereaved or engaging in other humanitarian acts.


Product Details 

  • Publication Date June 20, 2012
  • Page Count 360
  • Product Form Paperback / softback
  • ISBN 13 9780826107466
  • EISBN 9780826107473

Table of Contents 


Chapter 1: Theoretical Issues Guiding this Research and How the Data were Collected

Section I: Factors Associated With the Loss Experience

Chapter 2: Suicide Stigma and Compounding of a Survivor's Grief Difficulties
Chapter 3: Drug Overdose Deaths and Survivors' Grief: A Greatly Neglected Subject
Chapter 4: Differences in the Suicide Death Circumstances And How They May Affect Survivors' Grief
Chapter 5: Grief Overload: The Impact of Multiple Losses, Only Child Loss and Multiple Stressor Events on Bereaved Parents

Section II: Forms of Bereavement Assistance and How They Help Survivors Cope

Chapter 6: Early Years After Loss: Survivors Get Help and Advance from Their Depths of Despair
Chapter 7: Later Years After Loss: Identifying the Postvention Needs of Survivors
Chapter 8: The Healing Potential of Survivor Support Groups
Chapter 9: How Survivors Use Support Groups: Comings and Goings
Chapter 10: Personal Growth After A Suicide Loss: Is it Associated With A Survivor's Mental Health?
Chapter 11: Internet Support Groups for Suicide Survivors: A New Form of Grief Support

Section III: The Impact of a Child's Traumatic Death on Married Couples

Chapter 12: Gender Differences in Grief After the Death of a Child
Chapter 13: Investigating Whether Child Loss Promotes Harmony or Discord Among Married Couples

Section IV: Where Do we Go From Here?

Chapter 14: Suggestions for Future Research

Appendix: The Survey Research Instrument

Related Blog Posts 

Devastating Losses: How Parents Cope With the Death of a Child to Suicide or Drugs

Ordinarily the publication of one’s book is a very joyous event, a cause for celebration, and in this case, after enduring a six-year course of collecting our data from more than 600 bereaved parents, writing up results, and endless revisions, we do indeed feel a sense of great relief and profound accomplishment. Yet, at the same time, at least two members of our coauthor team must now acknowledge... Read More