Emerging adults are increasingly turning to the Internet and social media to express their emotions, improve coping, integrate loss, and maintain bonds to their deceased loved ones and friends. Death of a loved one or good friend is a little understood phenomenon in this demographic who maintain ongoing attachment to their lost loved ones through the direct posting to the social network sites of the deceased. Quantitative findings reveal a directional shift away from traditional bereavement practices to those that include using posting to the Internet and specifically to the deceased’s social network sites as emerging adults process loss. Emerging adults report receiving some level of support post bereavement (p < 0.001) with most using social media to post about and forward information regarding their loss (p < 0.001). Participants reported that posting to the social network sites of the deceased fosters coping and processing of loss (p < 0.001). Posting also provides a place and space specific to the loss and fosters ongoing attachment and continuing bonds (p< 0.001) through direct communication to the deceased and with others who access the same social network sites. Five ongoing themes revealed that posting to social network sites of the deceased offers alternate places and spaces for emerging adults to grieve. Posting to social network sites fosters ongoing attachment. Posting facilitates coping and loss integration. Posting directly to the deceased forges continuing bonds and posting to the deceased through their self- created social network site offers a virtual community for the bereaved.
|Advisor:||Nelson, Annabelle L.|
|Commitee:||Corley, Connie, Estrada, Carol, Balk, David L.|
|School:||Fielding Graduate University|
|Department:||School for Leadership Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/6(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Developmental biology, Web Studies, Behavioral psychology|
|Keywords:||Bereavement, Emerging adult, Grief, Internet, Posting, Social media|
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