Meaning reconstruction and the process of bereavement: A comparison of two narrative-based interventions

Alicia Ann Bourque

Abstract

This project compared two narrative-based interventions (i.e., Neimeyer's idiographic intervention and Pennebaker's general writing paradigm) to determine their effects on participants' (a) bereavement reactions and (b) bereavement metaphors. Seventy-seven students were randomly assigned to write according to one of three conditions: a meaning reconstruction group and two groups associated with Pennebaker's standard writing paradigm (experimental and control). Over time, participants in all three groups reported a decrease in the degree of their bereavement reaction and a decrease in their endorsement of non-adaptive metaphors. When compared to the meaning reconstruction and Pennebaker experimental conditions, control group participants rated their essays as less personal, meaningful, and severe and they did not find the writing exercise to be as beneficial.