Characteristics of the Ongoing Bond

Ronit D. Leichtentritt, Ayelet Yerushalmi, Adi Barak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The nature of the ongoing bond maintained by a bereaved person with a deceased one has attracted considerable attention in recent years, but studies have generally been limited to a functional viewpoint which examines only the outcomes of the bond. The current study provides a unique view of the ongoing bond which is maintained by the bereaved with the deceased; the characteristics of this bond are examined. The narratives of nine bereaved Israeli sibling suicide survivors formed the basis for the research. It was carried out on the basis of open, inductive research methodology. The results highlighted five characteristics of this post-death relationship. Each characteristic can be plotted along a continuum from (i) concrete-symbolic; (ii) dynamic-static; (iii) conscious-unconscious; (iv) personal-public; and (v) monologue-dialogue. The results address both the content of the post-death relationship and the manner in which the bond was constructed as well as how it is maintained. The application of relational dialectic theory to the results has added a conceptual dimension to our understanding of the subject. Further attention is given to the implications of this research results to social work practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1102-1118
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • Continuing bonds
  • Israel
  • bereavement
  • siblings
  • suicide

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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