Peterson, Kristina Ann; Ph.D.
Program of Human Development, Counselor Education;
College of Human Development and Education; North Dakota State University
The Grief Experience of African American Homicide Survivors: Understanding Trauma and Complicated Grief
Major Professor: Dr. Jill Nelson
Homicide has been defined as "the willful (non-negligent) killing of one human being by another" (Bastain, 1995, p. 3). Survivors of homicide, those family members and other loved ones who mourn the loss of the victim, face unique challenges in the process of grieving. The experience of African American homicide survivors is further complicated by issues "connected to the larger system of racism and privilege that is impossible to escape in the United States" (Rosenblatt & Wallace, 2005, p. xii).
In this basic, interpretive qualitative study, the research examined the experience of African American homicide survivorship. Three main themes highlighted the experience of the participants: (1) Complicated Grief Experience, (2) Influence of Contexts and Situations, and (3) Recommendations for Counselors and Victim Service Providers. Applications to the counseling profession and areas of further research were presented.