A five factor model of grief : a q-methodological study /
Smith, Debra J.
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Q-methodology permitted 41 people to communicate their perspective of grief. In an attempt to clarify the research to date and to allow those who have experienced this human journey to direct the scientists, 80 statements were chosen to present to the participants based on the research from academic and counselling sources. Five different perspectives emerged from the Q-sorts and factor analysis. Each perspective was valuable for the understanding of different groups of mourners. They were interpreted using questionnaire data and interview information. They are as follows: Factor 1- Growth Optimism; Factor 2 - Schema Destruction and Negative Affect; Factor 3- Identification with the Deceased Person; Factor 4- Intact World view with High Clarity and High Social Support; Factor 5- Schema Destruction with High Preoccupation and Attention to Emotion. Some people grow in the face of grief, others hold on to essentially the same schemas and others are devastated by their loss. The different perspectives reported herein supply clues to the sources of these differing outcomes. From examination of Factor 1, it appears that a healthy living relationship helps substantially in the event of loss. An orientation toward emotions that encourages clarity, exemplified by Factor 4, without hyper-vigilance to emotion may be helpful as well. Strategies for maintaining schematic representations of the world with little alteration include: identification with the values of the deceased person, as in Factor 3 and reliance on social support and/or God as demonstrated by Factor 4. When the relationship had painful periods, social support may be accessed to benefit some mourners. When the person's frame of reference or higher order schemas are assaulted by the events of loss, the people most at risk for traumatic grief seem to be those with difficult relationships as indicated by Factor 5 individuals. When low social support, high attention to emotion with low clarity and little belief that feelings can be altered for the better are also attributes of the mourner devastating grief can result. In the end, there are groups of people who are forced to endure the entire process of schema destruction and devastation. Some appear to recover in part and others appear to stay in a form of purgatory for many years. The results of this study suggest that, those who experience devastating grief may be in the minority. In the future interventions could be more specifically addressed if these perspectives are replicated in a larger, more detailed study.