The Perceived Roles of God During Suicide Bereavement

Volume 39
Summer 2011
The Perceived Roles of God During Suicide Bereavement

Ten women described their religious lives following the suicide of a family member. Using their audio-recorded and transcribed interviews, this qualitative pilot study describes their perceptions of God’s roles in the suicide and their bereavement. Religious traditions and Western culture contain ancient and contemporary Christian teachings regarding suicide and the bereaved respond to them and create their own attributions. The analysis produced four themes: 1) contrary to ancient Christian teaching, God as judge did not deny heaven to their loved one, 2) God was in control, but was not responsible for the suicide, 3) God provided individualized spiritual care, and 4) God brought good out of the tragedy. Larger and more detailed studies are needed to clarify further how theological attributions function within suicide bereavement.

Dr. L. VandeCreek and Dr. K. Mottram
155 - 162
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