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Sociology and Criminology & Law

Kim Fleming Wingard

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Degrees Earned and From Where:

  • M.A,2011,Sociology,Middle Tennessee State University.  Thesis title: Alcohol Consumption, Mental Illness, and Suicide:  An Ecological Study.  Chair:Kevin D. Breault, Ph.D.
  • B.S., 2009,double major in Sociology and Psychology.  Magna cum Laude.  Jacksonville State University, Alabama.

Research Interests:

  • Sociological Theory
  • Health and Aging
  • Medical Sociology
  • Marriage and Family
  • Depression and Suicide
  • Interpersonal Relationships

Teaching Interests:

  • Sociological Theory
  • Marriage and Family
  • Family Violence
  • Introduction to Sociology

Dissertation Title:

  • Interpersonal Relationship History and Pre-Death Grief among Hospice Families: A Mixed Methods Study

Dissertation Abstract:

The miracle of modern medicine has made it possible for people to live longer than any other time in recorded history. It has also led to fewer sudden deaths and more chronic illness with greater warning periods prior to death (Lynn 2005). When a person is diagnosed with a terminal illness, their lives and those of their loved ones undergo a drastic and permanent change. Individuals struggle to understand the implications of the news and the finality of its outcome. During this critical time, the diagnosed and their family members alike experience physical, emotional, and social symptoms of grief. This study suggests that there is a correlation between interpersonal relationship history and the ability of family members to grieve in a healthy way while supporting the dying and contributing to their ability to ‘die well.’ Employing a mixed methods approach, the current study aims to use personal interview data along with a previously proven grief inventory to determine whether strong relationship history leads to healthier grieving during the period at the end-of-life. The target sample for this study will be all volunteer and will include hospice patients (50+) and their loved ones (18+) and will focus on dyadic relationships more than family units. Being able to determine a connection between interpersonal relationship history and pre-death grief can assist future care workers in determining whether certain patients and/or loved ones may be susceptible to acute grieving processes.