“Online peer grief support”. International Perspectives, ECREA 2016 Prag

Döveling, K., Hård af Segerstad, Y & Kasperowski, D. (2016). “Safe havens”. Online peer grief support and emotion regulation in coping with the loss of a close relative , ECREA

The loss of a close relative can be a devastating experience, sometimes plunging mourners into deep and intense grief. Furthermore, in most Western societies, a cultural avoidance of talking about death limits the possibilities for coping and adaptation (cf. Brotherson and Soderquist, 2002). It is here, where social media provide new opportunities for sharing and coping, enabling support and aiding in emotion regulation.

The overall aim of the present study was to analyse and compare international research findings from Germany and Sweden in terms of coping resources and emotion regulation in different online peer grief-support communities. More specifically, what differences or similarities exist? Can such differences and similarities be traced to types of loss, age of mourner, affordances of various online environment or norms for grieving and emotion regulation? Are there more general patterns or traits to be found transcending specific online communities?

The results of this study and their implications for both bereaved individuals and practitioners in health care are discussed.