Unanticipated Death of a Partner: The Loss Experience of Bereaved Girlfriends of Fallen Israeli Soldiers

Ronit Dina Leichtentritt, Judy Leichtentritt, Yael Barzilai, Nomi Pedatsur-Sukenik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This qualitative study examined the loss experience of 15 Israeli bereaved girlfriends of fallen soldiers. The girlfriends of fallen Israeli soldiers are socially unacknowledged as being bereaved. This disenfranchised experience of grief is conveyed through social exclusion components and personal experiences of grief that were conceptualized into four themes: (a) learning about the loss; (b) loneliness and lack of social support; (c) intensifying initial experiences while creating alternative social networks; and (d) missed opportunities. The results provide new insight into the concept of disenfranchised grief, suggesting it is a multidimensional experience that includes personal, interpersonal, and social dimensions, each of which falls along a continuum ranging from a sense of acceptance to a sense of exclusion. Results also suggest that there are various depths to the experience of disenfranchised grief, which changes over time. Thus, disenfranchised grief is an ongoing and temporal personal, interpersonal, and social experience. Practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-829
Number of pages27
JournalDeath Studies
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2013


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