Purdue University Graduate School
Final Thesis Deposit 7-23.pdf (1.2 MB)

The Stories of Complicated Grievers: An Examination of the Effects of Complicated Grieving on the Narratives People Create After Experiencing the Loss of a Romantic Relationship

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posted on 2019-10-16, 17:13 authored by Caitie DonovanCaitie Donovan

The purpose of this study was to examine the ways in which the narratives told by people after a serious relationship dissolution are affected by the type of grief they experience. It was based on the current literature surrounding relationship dissolution and the resulting grief that comes from the loss of partner and relationship. The terms complicated grief and healthy grief were discussed; the emerging adult demographic and the particular ways in which grief is affected by extreme emotional situations were examined. Using the ideas presented in narrative inquiry and narrative therapy as a lens, data were qualitatively collected on twenty-two 18-24-year-old college students at a large Midwestern University. The study employed interviews and thematic coding to examine similarities and differences between complicated and healthy grievers. Practical suggestions were offered as to how complicated grievers could be guided to create narratives that make them better able to place blame appropriately, less likely to feel alone, and more willing to let go of their ex-partner.


Degree Type

  • Master of Arts


  • Communication

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Ralph Webb

Additional Committee Member 2

Robin Clair

Additional Committee Member 3

Jake Burdick

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