Nursing ETDs

Publication Date



There is a paucity of research on the effect of parents maintaining a continuing bond with their child who died by suicide. Furthermore, there is a gap in the research literature regarding differences among the parental continuing bond, posttraumatic stress, and complicated grief between parents who directly witnessed the suicide or found the body of their child and parents who were notified of the suicide by indirect methods (police, clergy, family, media, etc). This quantitative study included a convenience sample of 219 participants (response rate = 63.29%) who self-identified as parents whose child died by suicide 6 or more months prior to the initiation of the study. Participants were predominately White (85.8%), married (67.1%), female (91.3%), and mostly between the ages of 51 and 60 (44.7%). Data were collected on the Internet using the REDCap software program. The survey, which was completed anonymously, contained viii demographic information and three questionnaires: The Impact of Event Scale—Revised (IES-R), 22 items (0-88); Inventory of Complicated Grief (ICG), 19 items (0-76); and Continuing Bond Scale (CBS), three items (0-15). The mean score for the IES- R was 34.75, mean score for ICG was 33.03, and mean score for CBS was 6.28. The results suggest that the higher the parents continuing bond was, the higher were the levels of posttraumatic stress disorder and complicated grief. There were no differences between the group who observed the suicide or found the body and the group who was notified by other methods.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

College of Nursing

First Committee Member (Chair)

Mendelson, Cindy

Second Committee Member

Tigges, Beth

Third Committee Member

Hensley, Paula


Posttraumatic Stress, Complicated Grief, Continuing Bond, Parental survivors of suicide, Child suicide



Document Type