Skip to content Skip to navigation

Bereavement and meaning reconstruction among senior Japanese immigrant women in the San Francisco bay area: An ethnographic study for spiritual care (California)

TitleBereavement and meaning reconstruction among senior Japanese immigrant women in the San Francisco bay area: An ethnographic study for spiritual care (California)
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsSaito, C
UniversitySaito, Chizuko: Graduate Theological Union, US
Accession NumberDissertation Abstract: 2003-95011-027
Keywords*Grief, *Human Females, *Immigration, *Meaning, bereavement, meaning reconstruction, narrative development, personal narratives, immigrant women, spiritual care, Ethnography, Health & Mental Health Treatment & Prevention [3300], Human Female, us
AbstractThe time of grief can be an opportunity to discover and rediscover the meaning of life and death, particularly those meanings that transcend the experience of loss. Some recent studies on bereavement criticize stage progression models or psychiatric symptomatization models of grief. They argue that meanings attached to the particular loss or life can profoundly affect the process of the person's adaptation to the loss and sees grieving as a process of relearning the self and the world. In this dissertation, using an ethnographic study of nine senior Japanese immigrant widows in the San Francisco Bay Area, I explored how they reconstructed the meaning of their lives and loss after conjugal loss, and how their worldview, rituals, and communities provided a significant source of support in the process of recovery. A grieving individual's experiences are acquired and embedded in a particular socio-cultural and historical context that is uniquely significant to each individual. Each of my informants was born a Japanese national and married an American citizen (Japanese American or Anglo American), and currently is living in a multi-cultural and interfaith environment. Because of their common wartime experiences, different from that of the Japanese American and Anglo American communities in which they now live, they find themselves facing widowhood, living on the edge of two cultures. Despite the multiple secondary losses they faced, such as the loss of their culture and family in Japan, in addition to the issues of aging or racism, I found most of them were living healthy life again after a period of readjustment. The robust solutions to the intercultural and interfaith meaning-reconstruction process were creatively developed through the articulation of significant key themes drawn from their personal narratives. An ethnographic approach, which focuses on the unique narrative development by the informants, has utility for both critical analysis of the bereavement process, allowing for its contexualization within cultural and historical landscapes, and for spiritual strategies in working with the bereaved. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
Ethno Med: