An exploration of lesbian maternal bereavement

Joanne Cacciatore, Zulma Raffo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Scopus citations


    Research on parental bereavement has focused historically on single or partnered crossgendered (heterosexual) bereaved parents. No previous studies have examined the unique experiences of same-gendered bereaved parents. This multiple-case study focused on child death in same-gendered-parent families.The goal of this study was to yield information that will expand the existing body of knowledge regarding parental bereavement and add to the scant literature on lesbian parenthood and the challenges that lesbians may face as a marginalized group. The study used in-depth interviews with six self-identified lesbian mothers who had experienced the death of a child at various ages and from various causes. Results suggest that lesbian bereaved mothers experience a type of double-disenfranchisement after their losses and that social support is often insufficient to meet their psychological needs. Because previous research has not been published on this specific population, the findings may be worthwhile for the lesbian and gay parenting community, community advocacy groups, and the clinicians who serve them.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)169-177
    Number of pages9
    JournalSocial work
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Apr 2011


    • Bereavement
    • Child death
    • Disenfranchised grief
    • Gay and lesbian families
    • Mourning

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Medicine


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