Back home: A qualitative study exploring re-entering cross-cultural missionary aid workers' loss and grief

Susan Selby, Nicole Moulding, Sheila Clark, Alison Jones, Annette Braunack-Mayer, Justin Beilby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


Over 200 Australian, American, and British Non-Government Organizations send aid workers overseas including missionaries. On re-entry, they may suffer psychological distress; however, there is little research about their psychosocial issues and management in the family practice setting. Research suggests loss and grief as a suitable paradigm for family practitioners dealing with psychosocial issues. The aim of this study was to explore loss and grief issues for adult Australian missionary cross-cultural aid workers during their re-entry adjustment. Mixed methods were used and this study reports the qualitative method: semi-structured interviews conducted with 15 participants. Results were analyzed using framework analysis. Themes of re-entry loss and grief were identified with sub-themes of multiple varied losses, mechanisms of loss, loss of control, common grief phenomena, disenfranchised grief, and reactivation of past grief. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed. Findings of this study suggest that loss and grief is an appropriate paradigm for the management of these workers in the family practice setting. Further research is needed to enable appropriate care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-38
Number of pages20
JournalOmega: Journal of Death and Dying
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


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