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Supporting children and adolescents following parental bereavement: guidance for health-care professionals.

PMID: 33217358 (view PubMed database entry)
DOI: 10.1016/s2352-4642(20)30184-x (read at publisher's website )

Rachel A Kentor, Julie B Kaplow,

Death of a parent in childhood and adolescence is a distressing life event. Childhood grief reactions are distinct from those in adults, and are affected by developmental and contextual factors such as age of the child and changes in caregiving environments. Following parental bereavement, children and adolescents face unique emotional and behavioural challenges, and are susceptible to several adverse biopsychosocial outcomes. Empirically supported interventions can help young people to navigate the many grief-related challenges, and the core treatment components include grief psychoeducation, building emotion identification and regulation skills, cognitive coping and restructuring, grief and trauma processing, memorialising and continuing bonds, meaning making, involvement of caregivers in grief treatment, and future planning. Health-care professionals often interact with children and adolescents following bereavement; therefore, it is important they have the foundational knowledge and skills to communicate effectively about the death, recognise and normalise different ways grief can manifest across development, and support surviving caregivers in facilitating adaptive grief in their children.

Lancet Child Adolesc Health (The Lancet. Child & adolescent health)
[2020, 4(12):889-898]

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