March 6, 2019 - 12:00 pm



Koc University Rumelifeneri Campus, Faculty of Social Sciences Building, SOS143   View map

MiReKoc Seminar Series continues with Gülşah Kurt’s presentation on ‘Cross-Cultural Study of Loss Coping and Somatic Symptoms: Comparison of Turkish, Dutch Bereaved and Turkish immigrants in The Netherlands’. The presentation and discussion will take place on Wednesday, March 6th, 2019, at 12:00, in SOS143. Registration is required for participants not affiliated with Koç University.


Cross-Cultural Study of Loss Coping and Somatic Symptoms: Comparison of Turkish, Dutch Bereaved and Turkish immigrants in The Netherlands


Culture is of critical importance in determining the appropriate coping strategies with loss of a loved. Then, these coping strategies predict the bereaved’s adjustment, psychological and physical health. This study compares loss coping strategies and somatic symptoms of Turkish and Dutch bereaved and Turkish immigrants living in the Netherlands. The similarity of coping strategies of bereaved Turkish immigrants to Turkish or Dutch bereaved was examined by dividing them into four acculturation groups (assimilation, integration, separation and marginalization). 360 bereaved participated in this study (134 Turkish, 137 Dutch and 89 Turkish immigrants in NL). Current results demonstrated that Turkish bereaved scored higher on avoidance and positive reappraisal and somatic symptoms than Dutch bereaved. Avoidance was associated with higher somatic symptoms in general. Loss coping strategies of all four acculturation groups were more similar to Turkish bereaved and no significant difference was found between somatic symptoms of four acculturation groups. To conclude, Turkish and Dutch bereaved differ in their coping strategies with loss and avoidance is detrimental regardless of culture. In contrast to the expectations, Turkish immigrants turned to Turkish culture to cope with the loss despite their acculturation strategies. These findings showed us that emotional and practical acculturation are not the same. Hence, these differences should be cautiously interpreted by practitioners and researchers.


I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in International Relations from Middle East Technical University. Then, I received my master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Utrecht University. During my master’s study, I received my therapy supervision for the psychological treatment of Turkish immigrants in NL. Additionally, I was involved in both research studies about Turkish immigrants and psychosocial support units for them as a co-therapist. Currently, I am doing my PhD in the Psychology Department at Koç and my research interests are centred on the integration of clinical psychology with leadership, specifically worries about leadership (WAL). I am also interested in the cross and within culture investigation of leadership emergence and work-life balance with a particular focus on the immigrants.