Self-perception of adaptation among homicidally bereaved individuals following a psychoeducational intervention: A UK longitudinal qualitative study

Filipa Alves-Costa*, Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis, Hope Christie, Sarah L. Halligan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Objective Research on homicidal bereavement has focused on postloss impact and coping. Less is known about how individuals perceive their adjustment posthomicide. Adverse experiences are likely to leave individuals with an increased risk of developing severe psychological difficulties, such as depression, Post-traumatic stress (PTSD), anxiety and complicated grief. This study aimed to explore how individuals perceive their change and progression posthomicide and post-psychoeducational intervention. 

Design Semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted both as part of a prospective study and retrospectively to allow for a longer follow-up period. 

Setting Homicidally bereaved individuals who participated in a residential psychoeducational intervention offered by a national charity (Escaping Victimhood (EV)). 

Participants Twenty-nine individuals (mainly females) took part: 14 as part of a 6-9-month follow-up (short-term trajectory group (STG) individuals - mean age 45.25) and 15 individuals (long-term trajectory group (LTG) individuals - mean age 48.50), retrospectively, 2 to 5 years postintervention. 

Results Interviews were analysed using an inductive Thematic Analysis method. Three main themes and nine subthemes emerged, and applied to both groups, as follows: (1) actual changes perceived by the participants (increased understanding, improved coping strategies and positive self-change), (2) barriers to recovery (severe psychological difficulties over time, need for further support, reminders and close relationships with both victim and perpetrator), and finally perceived future progression (living day by day, hope and hopelessness). The only significant differences between the two groups related to the reported self-growth among LTG individuals and the perceived increased informal support among STG individuals by keeping in touch in other EV participants. 

Conclusion This unique study provides insight into how homicidally bereaved individuals perceive their bereavement paths and helped to identify elements that appear to contribute for their adjustment. Importantly, it has highlighted that positive changes can also be an outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere020443
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • bereavement
  • coping
  • homicide
  • intervention
  • psychoeducation


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-perception of adaptation among homicidally bereaved individuals following a psychoeducational intervention: A UK longitudinal qualitative study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this