Psykologisk Institut

Helle Spindler

Prevalence and Phenomenology of Sensory Experiences of a Deceased Spouse: A Survey of Bereaved Older Adults

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  • Karina S. Kamp
  • ,
  • Edith Maria Steffen, Aarhus Universitet, Storbritannien
  • Andrew Moskowitz
  • ,
  • Helle Spindler

Sensory and quasi-sensory experiences of the deceased (SED), also called bereavement hallucinations, are common in bereavement, but research detailing these experiences is limited. Methods: An in-depth survey of SED was developed based on existing research, and 310 older adults from the general Danish population participated in the study 6–10 months after their spouse died. Results: SED were reported by 42% of the participants with wide-ranging phenomenological features across sensory-modalities. In particular, seeing and hearing the deceased spouse was experienced as very similar to the couple’s everyday contacts before death. SED were endorsed as positive by a majority of experiencers, and the experiences were often shared with family and friends. Discussion: SED are conceptualized as social and relational phenomena, which may comfort the surviving spouse in late-life bereavement, but also provide tangible help to some experiencers. In clinical practice, SED may be considered a potential resource for the therapeutic grief process.

TidsskriftOmega (United States)
Sider (fra-til)103-125
Antal sider23
StatusUdgivet - maj 2023

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© The Author(s) 2021.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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