Immigrants Coping with Transnational Deaths and Bereavement: The Influence of Migratory Loss and Anticipatory Grief

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study examines immigrants’ experiences of bereavement and coping with the deaths of family members in a transnational context. Data were collected through in-depth personal interviews with middle-aged and older immigrants from different countries of origin, who have been living in the United States for a majority of their adult lives. Thematic analysis of participants’ narratives showed that immigrants’ geographic distance from family complicated caregiving circumstances and rituals surrounding burial, and impacted the grieving process. At the same time, this distance also served as an emotional barrier and provided protection from prolonged grief. Immigrants’ U.S.-based family and work responsibilities served as buffers from prolonged grief. Over time, immigrants became Americanized in their attitudes toward coping with death and favored a fast return to productive activities. Finally, immigrants’ experience of migratory loss and anticipatory grief early in immigration, along with their personal growth and resilience developed over time, impacted their bereavement experiences later in life. Considering the limitations and the exploratory nature of the present study, further research is needed to investigate the specifics of coping with loss and bereavement among immigrants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1012-1028
Number of pages17
JournalFamily Process
Volume57
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

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Keywords

  • Anticipatory grief
  • Migratory loss and mourning
  • Older immigrants
  • Transnational bereavement

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