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Loss and meaning: individual, spiritual, and sociocultural aspects - place for one or two PhD students

Chair group

Humanist chaplaincy studies for a plural society 
You can also have a look on the Dutch website.


prof. dr. Geert Smid, Endowed professor of psychotrauma, loss, and grief 

Short introduction into the research field

ChairHumanist Chaplaincy studies for a Plural Society
Supervisors Prof. dr. Geert Smid

Field of Research:  Loss and meaning: individual, spiritual, and sociocultural aspects - place for one or two PhD students

Bereavement and loss experiences impact on individuals and their social environments. Meaning attribution following loss is related to circumstances of the loss, individual, spiritual, and sociocultural factors. Meaning attribution following the loss may be adaptive and contribute to individual, family and community resilience. In contrast, maladaptive meaning attributions may predispose to decreased wellbeing and ill health. Therefore, research into loss and meaning attribution may contribute to improving care. 

The care for people who seek help related to loss experiences is provided by different care providers, including but not limited to spiritual and mental health care providers and social workers. Through their collaboration, an integrated network of care for loss emerges that needs to provide culturally sensitive care. Exploring lived experiences among care recipients and care providers across different care contexts may contribute to the integration of such a network.

To increase insight in individual, social, cultural, and spiritual aspects of loss, both qualitative (phenomenological) and quantitative studies, as well as scoping reviews and autoethnographic studies may be employed. Research questions may address a variety of specific populations and contexts. 

Examples of research questions

• How do bereaved relatives following planned suicide or physician-assisted dying based on mental suffering perceive their grief and the care for their loved one?

Place for:

 one external PhD candidate

Contact and information


Supervised by professor Geert Smid.