Abstract

The loss of a loved one through death is a virtually inescapable part of the human experience and one that can elicit marked psychological and physical distress on the part of the survivor. However, not all individuals who lose a loved one cope with their grief in the same way. Variation in the duration and intensity of grief reactions among mourners is well supported, with 10-15% of the bereaved population experiencing a protracted, debilitating, and sometimes life-threatening grief response known as complicated grief (CG). However, most grievers respond to loss with relative resilience, demonstrating an ability to sustain reasonably stable and adaptive levels of functioning while grieving the loss of their loved one. One factor that might distinguish resilient and CG reactions is differences in the cognitive, behavioral, emotional, social, and spiritual strategies they use to cope with their distressing grief symptoms. However, prior to this study, an instrument designed to assess potential constructive strategies for coping with bereavement had yet to be developed, limiting helping professionals and researchers to the use of nonspecific measures that assess coping with life stressors in general, rather than with bereavement, in particular. Therefore, the aim of this study was to construct and validate the Coping Assessment for Bereavement and Loss Experiences, or CABLE, an instrument designed to identify which strategies bereaved individuals currently use to cope with grief following the death of a loved one. The present study followed a mixed-methods approach to instrument development, incorporating both qualitative (i.e., Phase 1) and quantitative (i.e., Phase 2) approaches with two diverse samples of bereaved adults (N = 12 for Phase 1 and N = 918 for Phase 2, respectively). Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) with the initial item pool (n = 89 items) yielded a six-factor, 30-item structure, which was cross-validated for item selection using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). CFA generated a final six-factor, 28-item model of grief coping. The CABLE demonstrated good internal consistency reliability and provided initial evidence for convergent and discriminant validity with the present sample. Finally, findings from hierarchical multiple regression analyses and one-way analysis of variances (ANOVA) tests shed light on participant demographic and background variables that accounted for small but significant variance in CABLE scores. Limitations of the present study, recommendations for future research, and implications for helping professionals and researchers are discussed.

Graduation Date

2017

Semester

Spring

Advisor

Robinson, Edward

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

College

College of Education and Human Performance

Degree Program

Education; Counselor Education

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0006938

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0006938

Language

English

Release Date

11-15-2017

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

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