ERIC Number: ED212937
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Aug
Reference Count: 0
A Death in the Family: Parental Bereavement in the First Year.
Cook, Judith A.
If the nature of mourning depends on the relationship between the bereaved and the deceased, then parental mourning following a child's death may be different from mourning following the death of an adult. Parents' (N=145) descriptions of their experiences in the first year after a child's death from cancer or a blood disorder were examined to determine the nature of parental bereavement, and to explore differences in the experience and expression of loss by comparing accounts of mothers and fathers. The children had all been treated at a large, urban pediatric hospital and died during the years 1975 through 1979. Descriptive and survey data revealed differences between maternal and paternal mourning. Mothers described greater difficulty coping, especially on first holidays, and were more likely than fathers to report experiencing grief in intimate ways such as deep loneliness or visualizations. Mothers were also more likely than fathers to engage in new activities following the death and to report feeling distant from their spouse, and less likely to feel that they exchanged comfort with their husbands in the first year after death. Fathers reported fewer sources of emotional support than mothers. The findings reveal the influences of the parent-child relationship and familial and cultural contexts in shaping the nature of parental bereavement. (Author/NRB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (Toronto, Canada, August 24-28, 1981).