Effects of Parental Death

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The Effects of Parental Death and its causes
On Their Children’s Behaviors.
Tameka L. Flynt

A paper presented in Partial Fulfillment
Of the Requirements of CST 5006 - Survey of Research Methodology Capella University
May 2010

Address: P.O. Box 1987
Griffin, GA 30223
Phone: 678-588-9932
Email: Tameka_8402@yahoo.com
Instructor: Trent Nguyen

The purpose of this study is to review literature related to the effects of parental death on children. Children who experience the death of a parent is considered an at risk population for psychological, behavioral, and social problems. There are many factors relating to the way children adjust to parental death. Some of these factors include the age of the child, the gender of the child, the circumstances surrounding the death (accidental, expected, or violent death), the adjustment of the surviving caregiver, etc. Children who experience the accidental or violent death of a parent are more at risk to develop psychological problems, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, than those children who experience the expected death of a parent.

Table of Contents
Table of Contents3
The Statement of the Problem5
Review of Literature5
Qualitative Research5
Quantitative Research9
Annotated Bibliography15


Four percent of youth in the United States lose at least one parent by age fifteen (Samide & Stockton, 2002). The Death of a parent is a major and devastating event for a child. It can affect a child’s psychological and social development, which can lead to low academic performance and behavior problems. Everyday someone dies whether it’s from a sudden death such as a car accident, a natural disaster, and violence or an expected death such as long term illnesses. Many people that die have at least one child that live in the home under the age of eighteen. Understanding how the children are affected by parental death is important for developing effective prevention and interventions strategies that can be used by children counselors, social workers, and school counselors. Studies have been done to understand how these children are affected but there is room for further research. The Research questions that guided this research for the review of literature include: 1. Does the cause of death have a different effect on the way children grieve or adjust to life without their parent? 2. What are the most common problems children experiences after the death of a parent? 3. How are children affected by parental death?

4. What are the needs of children who experience parental death? The Statement of the Problem
This research proposes to identify the different effects parental death has on children and the factors (cause of death, age of child, gender of child, gender of surviving parent, etc) that relates to the adjustment of the child to the death of a parent. Review of Literature

Qualitative Research
Hope and Hate (2006) performed a qualitative study to explore the factors that affect children’s adjustment to the death of a parent. The authors of this study reviewed literature and found that many factors contribute to the way children adjust to parental death. Previous research shows that children experience distress related to the loss of a parent. Factor that affect the way a child adjust includes the age of the child, the sex of the child, circumstances of death, relationship to the deceased parent, adjustment to the remaining caregiver, & participation in post death rituals such as funerals. Other studies have compared the adjustment of children who have lost a parent to suicide to those who have lost a parent to terminal illness. Hope and Hodge (2006) conducted this study to obtain insight from social workers who work with childhood grief. They interviewed five social workers asking questions related to the adjustment of...
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