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Continuing Bonds in Bereaved Pakistani Muslims: Effects of Culture and Religion

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This study explores the bereavement process and continuing bond in Pakistani Muslims with the focus on how culture and religion influence these processes. Ten participants were interviewed and their transcribed interviews were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Three main domains were identified from the narratives expressed by the participants: death and the process of grieving, continuing the link with the deceased, and influencing agents. The findings indicated that Pakistani Muslims maintained their link with the deceased through cultural and religious rituals, such as performing prayers, reciting holy verses, talking and dreaming about the deceased, doing charity, visiting graves, and arranging communal gatherings. The prime purpose of many of these practices was the forgiveness of the deceased. Grief reactions seemed to be determined by the nature of death, prior relationships with the deceased, reaction of society and gender of the bereaved. Religion provided a strong basis for coping and adjustment of the bereaved, through rationalizing and accepting the death. This study has important implications for counselors and family therapists who can use religious affiliations to reduce the impact of loss and complicated bereavement.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Government College University Lahore, Lahore, Pakistan 2: School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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