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To date, researchers exploring childhood bereavement have largely relied on unstandardized assessment instruments and/or have independently evaluated specific constructs rather than factoring in the dimensionality of loss. The purpose of this study was to utilize psychometrically established instruments to examine the multivariate shared relationship between characteristics of bereaved children referred for counseling--their ages, genders, ethnicities, types of loss, and life stressors—and their behavioral manifestations as well as the relationship between these characteristics and levels of parent-child relational stress. Utilizing archival clinical files, we examined these characteristics from bereaved children (N = 98) whose parents sought counseling services from two university-based counseling clinics. Two canonical correlational analyses (CCA) were conducted to examine the following: (1) relationship between characteristics of bereaved children and their subsequent behavioral manifestations, (2) relationship between characteristics of bereaved children and levels of parent-child relational stress. Correlational findings from this study provided insight into bereaved children’s manifestations of loss and levels of parent-child relational stress as contingent upon these specific characteristics. Specifically, results indicated a strong relationship between age and bereaved children’s behavioral manifestations. This finding reinforced the importance for clinicians to understand developmental implications when working with bereaved children. Furthermore, caregivers who reported minimal overall external stressors also reported less parent-child relational interference. This finding further emphasizes the importance for caregivers to maintain utmost stability for bereaved children.
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- Exploring Characteristics of Children Presenting to Counseling for Grief and Loss
Dee C. Ray
- Springer US