Bereavement Following Suicide and Other Types of Death: Why Support Attempts Fail

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Lillian M. Range

Advisor Department



To assess perceptions of bereaved individuals and potential support providers across five causes of death, 112 undergraduates participated in a yoked control study. Subjects either were bereaved in the past two years, or were not but imagined that they knew and had to talk to someone bereaved under circumstances which matched a yoked experimental subject. Potential comforters could not accurately imagine bereaved subjects' level of social support and current functioning. It is possible that because of these misconceptions, people are hypothetically able to provide support gestures that would be considered helpful but in reality are unable to carry these out, particularly in the case of suicide.