Necronym: the effects of bearing a dead little sibling’s name

Ines Testoni, Maurizio Dorsa, Erika Iacona, Giorgio Scalici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This study analyses the emotional experiences of people who bear the necronym of a deceased sibling in order to describe the possible psychological implications of this experience. Using the grounded theory approach in interviews with 22 Italian participants and qualitative analysis of resulting texts, we found that some of the main themes that emerged confirmed the figure of the ‘replacement child’ described by previous literature. The three fundamental themes were: ‘complicated grief, removal and fear of death’; ‘identity problems related to the necronym’; and ‘sad gratitude’. The study highlights some existential difficulties that spring from this experience and, after reviewing these themes in detail, we present a brief discussion on whether to dissuade bereaved parents from naming a new child with the necronym of a deceased child.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-360
Number of pages18
Issue number3
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • complicated grief
  • Necronym
  • perinatal grief
  • personal identity
  • replacement child


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