A study of continuing bonds and their impact on life attitudes in parents of murdered children.

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For most of the past century, the positive outcome of grief in the West was characterized as the relinquishment of the bond to the deceased. Phrases such as "let go", "move on", and "get over it" were, and continue to be, common to the language of this pursuit. This 'breaking bonds' perspective does not take into account other means of grief resolution, nor does it consider historical or cultural findings. Consequently, reports of bereaved parents who indicate resolution of grief yet maintain a continued relationship with their deceased child were not given much attention until the 1990s. This research employed ... continued below

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Haag, Marcy J. May 2006.

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  • Haag, Marcy J.

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For most of the past century, the positive outcome of grief in the West was characterized as the relinquishment of the bond to the deceased. Phrases such as "let go", "move on", and "get over it" were, and continue to be, common to the language of this pursuit. This 'breaking bonds' perspective does not take into account other means of grief resolution, nor does it consider historical or cultural findings. Consequently, reports of bereaved parents who indicate resolution of grief yet maintain a continued relationship with their deceased child were not given much attention until the 1990s. This research employed a Durkheimian approach, taking the social bond as the starting point of inquiry and examined continuing bonds of parents to their murdered children. How these bonds were related to the parents' attitudes of re-investing in life and their level of grief was measured. The relationship between the parents' level of grief and their life attitudes was also assessed. The sample consisted of 46 parents living in North Texas whose child had been murdered three or more years ago. A triangulated methodology was utilized and the data were collected by means of participant observation, unstructured interviews, and a mailed questionnaire which obtained information on continuing bonds, level of grief, life attitudes and demographic variables. Multiple regression techniques were utilized to analyze the quantitative data. Parents on the Continuing Bonds Scale reported high levels of bonds with their deceased child. Contrary to expectation, the level of continuing bonds parents maintained with their children was found to be independent of other variables in the study. The relationship between parents' level of grief and their life attitudes was inverse in that higher levels of grief were associated with lower levels of re-investing in life. The finding of the independence of the Continuing Bonds Scale indicates the parent's level of grief and life attitudes are not related to continuing bonds; the bonds exist regardless. The relationship between level of grief and life attitudes points to a crisis of meaning.

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  • May 2006

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  • May 5, 2008, 2:14 p.m.

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  • Dec. 5, 2013, 11:39 a.m.

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Haag, Marcy J. A study of continuing bonds and their impact on life attitudes in parents of murdered children., dissertation, May 2006; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5225/: accessed June 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .