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J Nurs Scholarsh. 2003;35(4):359-64.

Challenging the myths about parents' adjustment after the sudden, violent death of a child.

Author information

  • 1School of Nursing, University of Washington, Box 357263, Seattle, WA 98195-7263, USA. samurphy@u.washington.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To examine three commonly held myths: (a) a child's death by suicide results in the worst parental outcomes compared with other causes of violent death, (b) divorce is not only more common among bereaved than nonbereaved married couples, it might be inevitable, and (c) "letting go and moving on" is an essential bereavement task needed for a satisfactory adjustment following the violent death of a child.

DESIGN AND METHODS:

Review of empirical evidence and critical reviews, review of Internet resources available to the general public, and the inclusion of original data obtained from a longitudinal, prospective study conducted by the authors.

FINDINGS:

Conclusive evidence was found to dispel two of the three myths, but sufficient evidence was not found to draw conclusions about the third myth regarding parents' adjustment to a child's suicidal death.

CONCLUSIONS:

Myths in regard to parental bereavement are resistant to disconfirming evidence and they appear to persist among professional practitioners and the general public despite contrary empirical evidence.

PMID:
14735679
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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