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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 202268 Find in a Library
Title: Gender Roles and Grief Cycles: Observations on Models of Grief and Coping in Homicide Cases
Journal: International Review of Victimology  Volume:10  Issue:1  Dated:2003  Pages:19-47
Author(s): J. Scott Kenney
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 28
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This article explores gender roles and grief cycles in homicide cases.
Abstract: Recent work regarding the emotional state of the bereaved can be seen to reflect three main themes: (1) a focus on temporal stage models of the grieving process; (2) emphasis on the therapist’s role in helping the bereaved accomplish various tasks leading to recovery; and (3) attempts at differentiating the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder from other mental disorders. All of these approaches have one major drawback: their implicit gender neutrality. This study examined the gender-specific bereavement experiences of men and women that had suffered a homicide in the family. The majority of data fell into three categories: (1) intensive interviews with 32 individuals; (2) mail-back surveys from 22 respondents; and (3) 108 homicide files obtained under an agreement with a Provincial Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, including information on 145 individuals. The grief cycles observed in these data clearly confirm the psychological and physical cost of strictly adhering to traditional gender roles. The more closely survivors adhered to coping patterns rooted in traditional gender roles, the more difficult their grief experience became. Guilt flowing from men’s protector role intensified their grief and depression, while simultaneously blocking them from expressing it. Women adhering strongly to traditional gender roles tended to emphasize and continually express their grief to the point that it began feeding back on itself in a continuous cycle. Ultimately, this was suggested to have an effect on mental health. These gender grief cycles are clearly made obscure by the three traditional models of grief. Regarding the therapist’s role in enabling the bereaved to accomplish various tasks leading to recovery, the data add some suggestions, including adhering to flexible gender roles, balancing activity and passivity, and balancing the focus between oneself versus other individuals, involvements, and goals. It is possible that what was once seen as a uniform disorder, such as post traumatic stress disorder, actually reflects the separate, gender-linked grief cycles. 12 notes, 66 references
Main Term(s): Gender issues; Victim reactions to crime
Index Term(s): Female victims; Male survivors; Post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD); Psychological research; Psychological victimization effects; Victim counseling
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