Date of Paper

5-2014

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Sarah Ferguson

Abstract

This purpose of this study was to determine the connection between friendship and grief through interviews with professionals in the grief and loss field. The literature review explored friendship and grief within the framework of adult attachment theory. The two independent topics then merged in a discussion about the concept of Friendgrief, the grief experienced due to the death of a friend. The present qualitative study interviewed five grief and loss professionals working in various settings to discover their perspectives on Friendgrief and its implications on social work practice. The content analysis of the data was accomplished through transcription and coding of the interviews. Four major themes emerged from the data analysis: attachment, friendship, grief, and integration of the loss. The interviewees all emphasized the importance of the depth of attachment and connection within a friendship and put less emphasis on the title of the relationship. The respondents also discussed that grief is an individual experience unique to each person that goes through the process. The last major theme found in this study was the importance of the integration of the loss into one’s life. Surprisingly disenfranchised grief, which was very prominent in the literature review, was only mentioned sparingly throughout the interviews and was not determined to be an overarching theme in this study.

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