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Int J Nurs Pract. 2002 Jun;8(3):137-42.

Adolescent coping with grief after the death of a loved one.

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Department of Nursing Science, University of Tampere, Finland.


The purpose of this article was to describe adolescent coping after the death of a loved one. Data were obtained by two self-report questionnaires filled in by 14-16-year-old pupils in two secondary schools in Finland. The sample consisted of 89 adolescents (70% girls) who had each experienced the death of a loved one. The instrument used in the study was developed by Hogan and DeSantis. The article reports the responses to two open-ended questions. The data were analyzed using content analysis. The most important factors that helped adolescents cope with grief were self-help and support from parents, relatives and friends. However, the official social support system was not experienced as very helpful. No one reported help, for example, from school health services. According to the adolescents, fear of death, a sense of loneliness and intrusive thoughts were factors that hindered coping with grief. Some respondents felt that parents or friends were an additional burden on them. The results are discussed in terms of identifying the different impact of social support, the importance of self-help and professional help. Knowledge of factors that have an effect on adolescent coping with bereavement is important for families, effective nursing practice, school health services and parents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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