Factors Affecting Children's Adjustment to the Death of a Parent: The Social Work Professional's Viewpoint

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

This study investigated factors affecting the adjustment of parentally bereaved children by reviewing existing literature and comparing it to observations made by professional social workers. Interviewees had between 1 1/2 and 22 years of experience in counseling bereaved children. The specific factors examined were age and sex of the bereaved child, circumstances of the death, and adjustment of remaining caregiver. Participants (n = 5) responded to an interview instrument specifically designed for this study which contained seven in-depth, open-ended questions. Participants' replies were mostly in accordance with the literature, but also generated some new perspectives that had not been previously considered for this study and had not appeared in the literature. This study has implications for practice with parentally bereaved children and their surviving caregivers.

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