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Children and young people's experience of UK childhood bereavement services.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>08/2007
Issue number3
Number of pages23
Pages (from-to)281-303
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish


This paper describes the experiences of bereaved children and parents and their use of UK childhood bereavement services. It forms part of a larger qualitative study and was undertaken in the context of questions about the impact of bereavement on children and their status and participation in research, raising important methodological and ethical issues. Interviews were undertaken with 24 bereaved children and 16 parents who had used one of eight organizational case study services. Participant observation of six group interventions was undertaken. The study identified a multiplicity of bereavement experiences both within and between families. Children identified difficulties in managing and expressing their feelings, isolation, problems at school, and fear for their surviving parent. Parents found it difficult to maintain their parenting role as they struggled with their own bereavement and the disruption in their circumstances. Children and parents who participated in interventions were able to describe the significant ways in which they found it helpful, including the benefit of speaking to someone who understood their experience. Although some experienced difficulties in attending group interventions, bereaved parents welcomed the support to help them provide appropriate care for their bereaved child. By providing an “ecological niche” for bereaved children, UK childhood bereavement services contribute to meeting outcomes identified in recent policy initiatives.