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Finding meaning in a traumatic loss: A families approach


  • Data collection for this study was supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Centre for Regional Studies.


Meaning-making, like much of coping research, has been conceptualized and assessed as an individual-centered phenomenon. On the premise that most traumas affect families as a whole, we assessed the extent to which meanings following a traumatic loss were congruent within families. Qualitative and quantitative data from family members coping with the loss of a family member in a mine explosion indicated moderate family congruence in meanings and global well-being. Furthermore, greater family similarity in meaning was associated with less depressive affect in individuals (pseudo R2 = .063), but was not associated with individual differences in well-being. The research highlights the important role that families play in coping with trauma.

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