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Is There Anybody Out There? Attachment Style and Interpersonal Facilitators as Protective Factors Against Complicated Grief Among Suicide-Loss Survivors

Levi-Belz, Yossi, PhD*†; Lev-Ari, Lilac, PhD*†

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: March 2019 - Volume 207 - Issue 3 - p 131–136
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000940
Original Article

Losing a loved one to suicide may have detrimental effects, one of them being suffering from complicated grief (CG). To date, no studies have fully examined the psychological processes that delineate the risk and resilience factors that contribute to CG among suicide-loss survivors (SLSs). We hypothesized that social support and self-disclosure would moderate the relationship between attachment styles and CG for SLS. Questionnaires assessing attachment style, self-disclosure, social support, and CG were completed by 156 SLS participants. A regression model revealed that secure attachment negatively predicted CG, but self-disclosure moderated this association. Secure attachment seems to be a resilient factor for CG. However, SLS with low secure attachment but high in self-disclosure ability use this behavior as a way to impede CG. The capacity to seek out other people, to share experiences with them, and to accept comfort from them may offer a means for SLS to better deal with their tragedy.

*Department of Behavioral Sciences, and

The Center for Suicide and Mental Pain Studies, Ruppin Academic Center, Emek Hefer, Israel.

Send reprint requests to Yossi Levi-Belz, PhD, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Ruppin Academic Center, Emek Hefer, 40250 Israel. E-mail:

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