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Grief in Comparison: Use of Social Comparison Among Cold Case Homicide Survivors

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The current qualitative study examines the use of social comparison among cold case homicide survivors as a method of defining their grief. Twenty-four cold case homicide survivors completed in-depth interviews about the trauma of living with an unsolved homicide. Survivors compared themselves to individuals coping with non-homicidal deaths and fellow homicide survivors. Results indicate survivors of unsolved homicides utilize downward elevation, lateral comparison, and upward contacts in their journey of grief and coping. The direction and type of comparison can have both positive and negative effects on the survivors' views of self and progress made towards emotional recovery. Implications are discussed.
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Keywords: grief; homicide; socialization; survivor; trauma

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Criminal Justice, University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, Missouri, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2014

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