Bereavement through substance use: findings from an interview study with adults from England and Scotland

Lorna Templeton, Ford Allison, Jennifer McKell, Christine Valentine, Julian Walter, Richard Velleman, Linda Bauld, Gordon Hay, Joan Hollywood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)
95 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background Deaths associated with alcohol and/or drugs belong to a category of ‘special’ deaths due to three characteristics: traumatic circumstances of the death, stigma directed to both the bereaved and the deceased, and resulting disenfranchised grief experienced by the bereaved. These factors can impede those who are bereaved in this way from both grieving and accessing support. In response to a lack of research in this area this paper reports on an interview study that has aimed to better understand the experiences and needs of this neglected group of bereaved people. Method Interviews with 106 adults (parents, children, spouses, siblings, nieces and friends) bereaved through substance use in Scotland and England. Results Five themes describe interviewee experiences: possibility of death, official processes, stigma, grief and support. These findings suggest what is dominant or unique in this group of bereaved people; namely, that living with substance use (including anticipatory grief), experiencing the subsequent death (often traumatic and stigmatised) and the responses of professionals and others (more likely negative than positive) can disenfranchise grief and negatively impact bereavement and seeking support.

Conclusions This article describes a large and unique sample, the largest in the world to be recruited from this population. Our study raises awareness of a hitherto largely ignored and marginalised group of bereaved people, highlighting what might be particular to their bereavement experience and how this may differ from other bereavements, thereby providing an evidence base for improving the availability, level and quality of support.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-354
Number of pages14
JournalAddiction Research & Theory
Volume24
Issue number5
Early online date12 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

Fingerprint

Bereavement
Scotland
England
Grief
Interviews
Spouses
Siblings
Parents
Alcohols
Research
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Population

Cite this

Bereavement through substance use: findings from an interview study with adults from England and Scotland. / Templeton, Lorna; Allison, Ford; McKell, Jennifer; Valentine, Christine; Walter, Julian; Velleman, Richard; Bauld, Linda; Hay, Gordon; Hollywood, Joan.

In: Addiction Research & Theory, Vol. 24, No. 5, 06.2016, p. 341-354.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{73e59384759d415cbc4a9b07965847b2,
title = "Bereavement through substance use: findings from an interview study with adults from England and Scotland",
abstract = "Background Deaths associated with alcohol and/or drugs belong to a category of ‘special’ deaths due to three characteristics: traumatic circumstances of the death, stigma directed to both the bereaved and the deceased, and resulting disenfranchised grief experienced by the bereaved. These factors can impede those who are bereaved in this way from both grieving and accessing support. In response to a lack of research in this area this paper reports on an interview study that has aimed to better understand the experiences and needs of this neglected group of bereaved people. Method Interviews with 106 adults (parents, children, spouses, siblings, nieces and friends) bereaved through substance use in Scotland and England. Results Five themes describe interviewee experiences: possibility of death, official processes, stigma, grief and support. These findings suggest what is dominant or unique in this group of bereaved people; namely, that living with substance use (including anticipatory grief), experiencing the subsequent death (often traumatic and stigmatised) and the responses of professionals and others (more likely negative than positive) can disenfranchise grief and negatively impact bereavement and seeking support.Conclusions This article describes a large and unique sample, the largest in the world to be recruited from this population. Our study raises awareness of a hitherto largely ignored and marginalised group of bereaved people, highlighting what might be particular to their bereavement experience and how this may differ from other bereavements, thereby providing an evidence base for improving the availability, level and quality of support.",
author = "Lorna Templeton and Ford Allison and Jennifer McKell and Christine Valentine and Julian Walter and Richard Velleman and Linda Bauld and Gordon Hay and Joan Hollywood",
year = "2016",
month = "6",
doi = "10.3109/16066359.2016.1153632",
language = "English",
volume = "24",
pages = "341--354",
journal = "Addiction Research & Theory",
issn = "1606-6359",
publisher = "Informa Healthcare",
number = "5",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Bereavement through substance use: findings from an interview study with adults from England and Scotland

AU - Templeton, Lorna

AU - Allison, Ford

AU - McKell, Jennifer

AU - Valentine, Christine

AU - Walter, Julian

AU - Velleman, Richard

AU - Bauld, Linda

AU - Hay, Gordon

AU - Hollywood, Joan

PY - 2016/6

Y1 - 2016/6

N2 - Background Deaths associated with alcohol and/or drugs belong to a category of ‘special’ deaths due to three characteristics: traumatic circumstances of the death, stigma directed to both the bereaved and the deceased, and resulting disenfranchised grief experienced by the bereaved. These factors can impede those who are bereaved in this way from both grieving and accessing support. In response to a lack of research in this area this paper reports on an interview study that has aimed to better understand the experiences and needs of this neglected group of bereaved people. Method Interviews with 106 adults (parents, children, spouses, siblings, nieces and friends) bereaved through substance use in Scotland and England. Results Five themes describe interviewee experiences: possibility of death, official processes, stigma, grief and support. These findings suggest what is dominant or unique in this group of bereaved people; namely, that living with substance use (including anticipatory grief), experiencing the subsequent death (often traumatic and stigmatised) and the responses of professionals and others (more likely negative than positive) can disenfranchise grief and negatively impact bereavement and seeking support.Conclusions This article describes a large and unique sample, the largest in the world to be recruited from this population. Our study raises awareness of a hitherto largely ignored and marginalised group of bereaved people, highlighting what might be particular to their bereavement experience and how this may differ from other bereavements, thereby providing an evidence base for improving the availability, level and quality of support.

AB - Background Deaths associated with alcohol and/or drugs belong to a category of ‘special’ deaths due to three characteristics: traumatic circumstances of the death, stigma directed to both the bereaved and the deceased, and resulting disenfranchised grief experienced by the bereaved. These factors can impede those who are bereaved in this way from both grieving and accessing support. In response to a lack of research in this area this paper reports on an interview study that has aimed to better understand the experiences and needs of this neglected group of bereaved people. Method Interviews with 106 adults (parents, children, spouses, siblings, nieces and friends) bereaved through substance use in Scotland and England. Results Five themes describe interviewee experiences: possibility of death, official processes, stigma, grief and support. These findings suggest what is dominant or unique in this group of bereaved people; namely, that living with substance use (including anticipatory grief), experiencing the subsequent death (often traumatic and stigmatised) and the responses of professionals and others (more likely negative than positive) can disenfranchise grief and negatively impact bereavement and seeking support.Conclusions This article describes a large and unique sample, the largest in the world to be recruited from this population. Our study raises awareness of a hitherto largely ignored and marginalised group of bereaved people, highlighting what might be particular to their bereavement experience and how this may differ from other bereavements, thereby providing an evidence base for improving the availability, level and quality of support.

UR - http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/16066359.2016.1153632

U2 - 10.3109/16066359.2016.1153632

DO - 10.3109/16066359.2016.1153632

M3 - Article

VL - 24

SP - 341

EP - 354

JO - Addiction Research & Theory

JF - Addiction Research & Theory

SN - 1606-6359

IS - 5

ER -