241336 Binding the Self: The post-homicide experience of Black mothers following the deaths of their sons by murder

Monday, October 31, 2011: 4:30 PM

Camille Hannays-King, EdD (c) , Department of Counselling Services, Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Toronto, ON, Canada
Annette Bailey, PhD , School of Nursing, York University, Toronto, Canada
Although the literature suggests that death by homicide is profoundly traumatic and disruptive to the lives of survivors, there remains a paucity of studies on this topic. Particularly, there are no studies which focused specifically on the post-homicide experience of Black mothers. This qualitative study examined the bereavement experience of Black mothers following the homicide of their sons. Using exploratory retrospective grounded theory, the study explored the range of processes whereby 10 Black mothers, who reside in the province of Ontario, Canada, and whose children died through homicide, adjusted to, coped with, and made sense of their experience of loss. Content analysis of mothers' narrative demonstrated that bereavement following violent loss is a dynamic, active process, with oscillation between deeply felt intra-psychic pain and a dyadic relationship with the social environment. This intertwining psychological process is mediated by mothers' activities to mitigate their experience of grief and violent loss and reclaim their sons' maligned identities. By illustrating how the intersection of the associated variables of race, and violent death compounds the pain of grief, the findings of this study reinforces that no response ever occurs free of social and cultural influences. External factors such as social supports, contact with the media and criminal justice system, impact their grief process. Trauma recovery for Black mothers and their families need to focus on the specific social and political barriers and challenges that ground their loss experiences with homicide, and the advancement of health policy and public health interventions.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
•Describe the lived experience of Black mothers who experience homicide loss. •Explain the social and psychological factors that shape Black mothers’ bereavement experience following the loss of their sons by homocide

Keywords: Women's Health, Violence Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: This is my dissertation work
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.