Collective trauma and its impact on private grief: The voices of loved ones of 9/11 victims


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

This qualitative study explored the unique aspects of private grief in the context of the national public and collective loss and trauma of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Twelve adutls who lost loved ones on 9/11 were interviewed (9 females, 3 males) and asked open-ended questions about their grief experience. Participants who reported being defined by the 9/11 event or a loss of their pre-loss identity had more difficulty accommodating to their loss of loved ones. Having a combination of remains to bury, good social supports, and after-death contact with loved ones, either in a dream or wakeful state, was associated with acceptance of loss. Unique stressor variables were having no remains or partial remains, multiple and delayed death notification, constant and enduring reminders of 9/11 in the media and in the public domain, and being a public figure subject to unwanted scrutiny and judgement of others.

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