Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Communication Studies

Department or School/College

Communication Studies

Committee Chair

Christina Yoshimura

Commitee Members

Dr. Steve Yoshimura, Dr. Kirsten Murray


Grief, Sibling Grief, Distal Grief, Emotional Affect, Communicated Narrative Sense-Making Theory


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Health Communication | Other Communication


Communicated Narrative Sense-Making (CNSM) theory is used as a theoretical framework to understand the storytelling surrounding a sibling’s death years after the loss. Analysis of 174 narratives from individuals whose siblings died five or more years ago revealed that a neutral tone, rather than the use of positive or negative affect, was predominant in this retrospective storytelling. When affect was present, it was more likely to be negative than positive. However, positive affect was associated with an individual’s satisfaction with life when it was present. The neutrality and frequency of retrospective storytelling among distally bereaved siblings in this study may indicate that over time, siblings evidence their sensemaking in stories through reduction of affect and the presentation of facts.

Additionally, the participants’ reported salience of the six different CNSM perspective-taking behaviors of listeners while telling the death story to others suggests that all six perspective-taking behaviors are important to their decision to share their story. However, being offered the space and freedom to tell the story emerged as the most important listener behavior of the participants in this study. Based on these findings, the potential to create CNSM translational interventions



© Copyright 2022 Margaret C. Brock