Description and Impact of Encounters With Deceased Partners or Spouses

Jennifer Kim Penberthy*, Noelle R. St Germain-Sehr, Gwen Grams, Madeline Burns, David Lorimer, Callum E. Cooper, Chris Roe, Sophie Morrison, Evelyn Elsaesser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


This study investigates perceived interactions with the deceased, a phenomenon reported across societies, with 30-34% of individuals likely experiencing at least one ADC in their lifetime. Despite this prevalence, studies examining the impact of ADCs’ on those who have lost partners are limited. We present data from 70 individuals reporting partner ADCs via an online survey. Forty percent reported accelerated recovery and 42.9% confirm the ADCs’ significant influence in their grieving, with 61% expressing a desire for continued contact. ADCs, interestingly, didn’t worsen their pain. The influence on grief-related sadness varied: 41% noted no change, while 40% reported reduced sadness. Forty-seven percent ac- knowledged ADCs eased their loss acceptance. The data highlight ADCs’ substantial, po-tentially therapeutic role in grief and healing, despite varying effects on sadness and recovery.This study underscores the ADCs’ possible positive influence on bereaved partners, ad-vocating for a deeper understanding of this phenomenon in the grieving process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalOmega: Journal of Death and Dying
Early online date20 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Penberthy, JK, St Germain-Sehr, NR, Grams, G, Burns, M, Lorimer, D, Cooper, CE, Roe, C, Morrison, S & Elsaesser, E 2023, 'Description and Impact of Encounters With Deceased Partners or Spouses', Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, pp. 1-18. Copyright © Authors 2023


  • After-death communication
  • deceased partner
  • bereavement
  • grief
  • spirituality


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