Bodies as means for continuing post-death relationships

Ronit D. Leichtentritt, Michal Mahat Shamir, Adi Barak, Ayelet Yerushalmi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Secondary analysis of data from 30 people in three interview studies shows that bereaved people use their own and the deceased's body in their continuing efforts to maintain a relationship with the departed. Following the continuing bond perspective, the study reveals three body-associated strategies for maintaining post-death relationships: (a) the presence of the deceased in the bereaved's body, (b) body-associated actions and activities, and (c) sensing and caring for the deceased's body. The conceptual dimension of embodiment is used to interpret results. Attention is also given to the bereaved's sense of disembodiment due to social rejection of these strategies for maintaining post-death relationships. Implications for health psychologists are offered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)738-749
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Health Psychology
Volume21
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2016

Keywords

  • Israel
  • narratives
  • physical symptoms
  • psychological distress
  • qualitative methods

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