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Death Stud. 2008;32(3):237-52. doi: 10.1080/07481180701881263.

The impact of circumstances surrounding the death of a child on parents' grief.

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Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80140, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands.


A longitudinal study was conducted among bereaved parents to examine the relationship between the circumstances surrounding the death of their child and psychological adjustment. Two hundred nineteen couples participated at 6, 13, and 20 months post-loss. Examination was made of two categories of factors: those that were determined by the particular death circumstances (e.g., whether the parent was present at the death) versus those over which parents themselves could have influence (e.g., choice of cremation or burial). Results indicated that some but not all factors were related to adjustment over time. Importantly, the feeling of having said goodbye to the child and presenting the body for viewing at home were associated with lower levels of the parents' grief. Implications for supporting bereaved parents are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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