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Reflections on Experiencing Parental Bereavement as a Young Person: A Retrospective Qualitative Study

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Reflections on Experiencing Parental Bereavement as a Young Person: A Retrospective Qualitative Study. / Chater, Angel Marie; Howlett, Neil; Shorter, Gillian W.; Zakrzewski-Fruer, Julia K.; Williams, Jane.

In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Vol. 19, No. 4, e2083, 13.02.2022.

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@article{8862f734fc0d45fa9c0617226d10f120,
title = "Reflections on Experiencing Parental Bereavement as a Young Person: A Retrospective Qualitative Study",
abstract = "Background: It is estimated that approximately 41,000 children and young people experience the death of a parent each year. Grief responses, such as anxiety and depression, can follow. This research investigated the adult reflections of experiencing parental death as a young person. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with adults (N = 14; female n = 8) who experienced parental death as a young person, which occurred over 5 years ago (time since death, M = 12.9 years; age at death, M = 16.4 years; age at interview, M = 30.9 years). The data were analysed inductively using thematic analysis. Results: Seven themes revealed that parental bereavement can lead to (1) “Distance and isolation” and is an (2) “Emotional journey” with (3) a “Physical impact”. Many experienced (4) “Post-traumatic growth” but acknowledged that (5) “Life will never be the same”, highlighting the importance of (6) “Support and understanding” and triggers for (7) “Re-grief”. Conclusions: Parental bereavement has significant emotional and physical consequences, but can also lead to personal growth. Talking therapies were rarely accessed, often due to a lack of awareness or desire to engage, revealing a translational gap between existing support services and uptake. Enabling open conversations about grief and identifying suitable support is a public health priority. This need has been amplified since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may be a trigger for grief empathy and re-grief in those who have already been bereaved.",
keywords = "bereavement, death, parent, young person, grief, emotion, post-traumatic growth",
author = "Chater, {Angel Marie} and Neil Howlett and Shorter, {Gillian W.} and Zakrzewski-Fruer, {Julia K.} and Jane Williams",
note = "{\textcopyright} 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).",
year = "2022",
month = feb,
day = "13",
doi = "10.3390/ijerph19042083",
language = "English",
volume = "19",
journal = "International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health",
issn = "1661-7827",
publisher = "Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)",
number = "4",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Reflections on Experiencing Parental Bereavement as a Young Person: A Retrospective Qualitative Study

AU - Chater, Angel Marie

AU - Howlett, Neil

AU - Shorter, Gillian W.

AU - Zakrzewski-Fruer, Julia K.

AU - Williams, Jane

N1 - © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

PY - 2022/2/13

Y1 - 2022/2/13

N2 - Background: It is estimated that approximately 41,000 children and young people experience the death of a parent each year. Grief responses, such as anxiety and depression, can follow. This research investigated the adult reflections of experiencing parental death as a young person. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with adults (N = 14; female n = 8) who experienced parental death as a young person, which occurred over 5 years ago (time since death, M = 12.9 years; age at death, M = 16.4 years; age at interview, M = 30.9 years). The data were analysed inductively using thematic analysis. Results: Seven themes revealed that parental bereavement can lead to (1) “Distance and isolation” and is an (2) “Emotional journey” with (3) a “Physical impact”. Many experienced (4) “Post-traumatic growth” but acknowledged that (5) “Life will never be the same”, highlighting the importance of (6) “Support and understanding” and triggers for (7) “Re-grief”. Conclusions: Parental bereavement has significant emotional and physical consequences, but can also lead to personal growth. Talking therapies were rarely accessed, often due to a lack of awareness or desire to engage, revealing a translational gap between existing support services and uptake. Enabling open conversations about grief and identifying suitable support is a public health priority. This need has been amplified since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may be a trigger for grief empathy and re-grief in those who have already been bereaved.

AB - Background: It is estimated that approximately 41,000 children and young people experience the death of a parent each year. Grief responses, such as anxiety and depression, can follow. This research investigated the adult reflections of experiencing parental death as a young person. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with adults (N = 14; female n = 8) who experienced parental death as a young person, which occurred over 5 years ago (time since death, M = 12.9 years; age at death, M = 16.4 years; age at interview, M = 30.9 years). The data were analysed inductively using thematic analysis. Results: Seven themes revealed that parental bereavement can lead to (1) “Distance and isolation” and is an (2) “Emotional journey” with (3) a “Physical impact”. Many experienced (4) “Post-traumatic growth” but acknowledged that (5) “Life will never be the same”, highlighting the importance of (6) “Support and understanding” and triggers for (7) “Re-grief”. Conclusions: Parental bereavement has significant emotional and physical consequences, but can also lead to personal growth. Talking therapies were rarely accessed, often due to a lack of awareness or desire to engage, revealing a translational gap between existing support services and uptake. Enabling open conversations about grief and identifying suitable support is a public health priority. This need has been amplified since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may be a trigger for grief empathy and re-grief in those who have already been bereaved.

KW - bereavement

KW - death

KW - parent

KW - young person

KW - grief

KW - emotion

KW - post-traumatic growth

U2 - 10.3390/ijerph19042083

DO - 10.3390/ijerph19042083

M3 - Article

VL - 19

JO - International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

JF - International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

SN - 1661-7827

IS - 4

M1 - e2083

ER -