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Ditte Alexandra Winther-Lindqvist

Associate Professor


(1)   The personal history of grief


The project’s addressing the personal history of grief aiming at theorizing the personal dimension of grieving as a particular historically formed embodied way of having the world. This phenomenological approach is empirically investigated through researching the personal dimension of grieving the loss of a parent in adolescence, focusing on immediate effects (changes in ways of having one’s world) as well as long term effects of bereavement on embodied responsivity and dispositions (post doc project, see Allan Køster). The literature suggests that grieving the loss of a parent as a child has an acute and significant impact (refs) and that the loss keeps persisting as a relevant life-event with effects on the bereaved personal life-world and outlook in adult life. However, in what ways is early parental loss, present in the person’s life and with what effects in terms of outlook on life, risk and resilience? This study seeks spelling out connections between acute grief reactions with its more long term effects on quality of life, intimate relationships and vocational commitments, employing a newly suggested theoretical model of personal history as an embodied response register (Køster & Winther-Lindqvist). Theoretically we are employing existential phenomenological theorizing on the self as embodied, historical, cultural and narratively constituted, however focusing on the aspects of grieving and loss which resists narration and shows itself rather in embodied responsivity (refs.).


Research design: 

1a): Ass. Professor Ditte Winther-Lindqvist in collaboration with RCDC.

The acute existential phenomenology of parental loss and bereavement in adolescents

Semistructured interviews with 20 adolescents mourning the loss of a parent (between 3-6 months after the loss). Interviewees are recruited through RCDR, facebook adds and word of mouth. Interviews focus on immediate emotional reactions, mood changes, meaning-making efforts, changes in existential outlook, and concerns related to social participation and personal relationships and occupational commitments (school/education).


1b: post doc. Phd. Allan Køster in collaboration with RCDC.

Grief as embodied experience reverberating through the life-span: Long-term consequences of loss.

Semistructured interviews with 30 adults between 30-45 years of age, recruited through RCDC corps of volunteers and former clients as well as facebook adds. Reflections on the effects of the loss on the personal life-world, especially focusing on embodiment, understood as the way in which the loss
sediments to become particular embodied dispositions for having a world.


Teenager with a somatically ill parent? A study of a critical transition

 Due to medical achievement and more succesfull treatment of lethal diseases, more and more young people live with terminally ill parents during many years. These young people experience anxiety and sorrow in ways significantly different from the processes young people with a dead parent experience. The situation can be conceptualised as a critical transition where the young person risk stagnation in important areas of everyday life with peers, hobbies, activities and educational settings. Classical theories of loss and sorrow provide understandings and conseptualisations regarding actual loss and coping with the death of a parent, but is silent about the process of awaiting loss. It is necessary to develop theoretical understandings of the critical period awaiting the loss. The proposed research project is developed in close association with the organisation Young and sorrow (unge & sorg), and the design combines qualitative research interviews with quantitative symptoms-testing; testing the hypothesis: Is it worse to live with the threat of loss than living with actual loss? A comparison between young people who lost a parent with those who have a terminally ill parent is made. The design optimizes the possibility for answering both the qualitative question: What does a youth life with a dying parent entail for the young persons everyday life, and possibilities for maintaining attending school, be with friends, peers and boy/girlfriends? And at the same time we obtain a quantitative overview of symptoms compared between persons who are in teh process of loss and those who suffer actual loss. The purpose of the study is to get more knowledge aroung this group of young people and improve our intervention and information-work around this particular topic, alongside these practical goals formulating a theory of critical transitions will fill a gap in the field of developmental psychological theory.