Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Technology of Grief: Social Networking Sites as a Modern Death Ritual
by Fearon, Jordan C., Psy.D., Antioch University, 2011, 152; 10817707
Abstract (Summary)

Technology plays a significant role in the socialization and development of society. One popular technology includes Facebook, a Social Networking Site (SNS). As Facebook has become a common site for reaching out to others for a sense of support and connection, it has also become a site to express grief and bereavement through the creation of Memorial Groups. Through a qualitative survey design, descriptive information regarding the impetus to create a Memorial Group as well as the desired utility was examined through the perspective of the creator. An online questionnaire consisting of open and closed-ended questions was completed by 68 individuals. Results indicate that creators of Memorial Groups are heavily invested in the technology, using the group to support the bereavement process. Thematic analysis, utilizing interpretative phenomenological analysis, identified six organic themes within the personal narratives including in memoriam, connection to others, connection to the deceased, personal mourning, and culture of technology as well as a number of concerns associated with the Memorial Group. Additionally, 98.5 % of responders would recommend the creation of a Memorial Group to others. Further, 59% of responders rated the Memorial Group as more helpful than other traditional death rituals. This study suggests that individuals who actively utilize the technology appear to identify significant personal benefit. Facebook Memorial Groups include the necessary components of traditional rituals, as well as several advantages such as accessibility and continuity, combining to create a modern death ritual that has been embraced by popular culture. The electronic version of this dissertation is freely accessible through the OhioLINK ETD center (http://www.ohiolink.edu/etd/).

Indexing (document details)
Commitee: Belcher-Timme, Barbara, Peterson, Roger, Slammon, William
School: Antioch University
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-B 79/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mental health, Social psychology, Information Technology, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Death ritual, Facebook, Grief, Social networking sites
Publication Number: 10817707
ISBN: 978-0-355-84302-6
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