Blogging as a Means of Grieving

Blogging as a Means of Grieving

Jocelyn M. DeGroot (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, USA) and Heather J. Carmack (Missouri State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-744-9.ch010
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People are increasingly turning to the Internet to grieve and manage the traumatic experience of losing a loved one and to cope with emotional pain after the loss. Many bereaved individuals establish personal blogs following the death of a parent, spouse or partner, sibling, close family member, or child. For some, blogging about the death of someone special serves as a form of therapy, healing, and emotional release; for others, it serves as a public way to cope with grief. This chapter zeroes in on the communicative experiences of grief bloggers and examines the role of computer-mediated communication in the process of grieving. It starts with a discussion of the stages of grief, explicates the positive and negative impact of blogging on the grieving process, and outlines practical and ethical dilemmas presented by grief blogs and blogging.
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Background: Grieving Process

Although research has identified various phases of grief, scholars tend to agree on three broadly defined stages, including (1) shock, (2) acknowledgement, and (3) reconstruction (Bowlby, 1980a, DeVaul, Zisook, & Faschingbauer, 1979; Harvey, 1996; Kübler-Ross, 1969). These phases might overlap, but the first two stages generally precede the reconstruction phase (Shuchter & Zisook, 1993; Weiss, 1993). We find Parkes (1970b, 1972) and Bowlby’s (1961, 1969, 1972, 1980a) conceptualizations of the stages of grieving to be most useful for discussing this topic. Their interpretation of grieving is clear and comprehensively acknowledges all of the challenges that someone might encounter during the course of grieving. The phases may overlap with one another. In some cases, the phases of grief may be accompanied by prolonged depression or by acute and episodic “pangs” (Parkes, 1972, p. 39). A grieving person might also experience several overlapping phases at the same time or may swing between phases (Parkes, 1970a).

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