African american homicide bereavement: Aspects of social support that predict complicated grief, PTSD, and depression


Psychological adaptation following homicide loss is challenged not only by the violent nature of the death itself but also by the bereaved's relationships with would-be supporters. Recruiting a sample of 54 African-American homicidally bereaved individuals, we examined perceived and actual support, the size of the support network, family- versus non-family support, and number of negative relationships to gauge the role of social support in bereavement outcomes such as complicated grief, PTSD, and depression. Results of quantitative assessments revealed that size of available network, quantity of negative relationships, and levels of grief-specific support were correlated with bereavement outcome. Clinical implications and suggestions for future research on the role of social support in adaptation of African Americans to traumatic loss are discussed.

Publication Title

Omega: Journal of Death and Dying