Good Grief: How Family Religious Differences Impact the Grieving Process




Sonnier, Tyshee

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This project examines how familial religious differences impact grief and family communication among emerging adults. It assesses how religiously diverse families navigate and process their differences during the grieving process, how family communication patterns impact those differences, and what other situations make these differences salient. The study assesses the responses of 13 volunteers who participated in 20-45 minute semi-structured interviews. The interviews involved a series of questions concerning the respondent's family communication patterns, religious differences, and grief reactions, as well as their communication following the death of a loved one. The results indicated that individuals whose families were able to accommodate the emotional, behavioral, and conversational needs of its members felt more familial satisfaction and had a better time processing their grief. Individuals whose families were unable to accommodate the communicative and social needs of its members reported grief complications and feelings of anger, frustration, and disappointment. Situations of wavering certainty also made religious differences salient. It is important to recognize that circumstance, grief reactions, and family dynamics are specific to every individual. However, grief and family communication still appeared to hold a strong influence on familial turbulence that may arise from religious differences. Further research on grief accommodation should be done to collect more specific data in order to accommodate all grieving family members and their perspectives.



grief, family communication, family religious differences, emerging adulthood, Honors College


Sonnier, T. (2019). Good grief: How family religious differences impact the grieving process (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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