Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 209–227

Intergenerational Suicide and Family Dynamics: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Case Study

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10591-009-9102-x

Cite this article as:
Sandage, S.J. Contemp Fam Ther (2010) 32: 209. doi:10.1007/s10591-009-9102-x


A phenomenological case study of a family in which the father committed suicide following incarceration and an adult daughter also committed suicide years later is described. This study used an embedded design to triangulate multiple sources of data (family documents and interviews with survivors) within the study of a single family. Four themes emerged to describe the relational dynamics between the father and adult daughter: (a) Mirroring, (b) Caretaking, (c) Death, and (d) Suicide. Four themes emerged from interviews with survivors about their coping process: (a) Ongoing Grief process, (b) Media Exploitation, (c) Separation and Transformation, and (d) Forgiveness. Results are discussed in terms of prevention and family processes in coping with suicide.


Suicide Family dynamics Grief Qualitative research Incarceration 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bethel UniversityArden HillsUSA

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