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ERIC Number: EJ789434
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 11
ISSN: ISSN-0164-7970
Guidelines for Death Notification in College Student Populations
Hamilton, Lou Ann
New Directions for Student Services, n121 p77-86 Spr 2008
College is a time for intellectual growth and also an important time for psychological and emotional maturation and the development of coping skills. The death loss of a family member or friend is a relatively common experience for college students. How students and family members are notified of a death can have a long-standing impact on their grief and subsequent functioning, as well as potential ramifications for the institution. Three topics related to the process of death notification are addressed in this article: (1) notifying a student of the death of a family member or friend; (2) notifying family members (including spouses, parents, and perhaps siblings) of a student's death; and (3) self-care (efforts aimed at maintaining mental and physical health) recommendations for campus professionals who have responsibility for death notification. The way a student is informed of a death loss has implications for the student's adjustment and retention and how the individual copes with the loss in the future. Communicating with family members after the death of a student is a sensitive task that not only involves the family's immediate reactions but also has the potential to affect the entire university (in situations where litigation could arise). Because death notification is an emotionally demanding activity, the responsible professional is at risk for burnout (a condition characterized by mental and physical exhaustion). To avoid burnout, the individual who delivers this type of news must learn to practice good self-care. Throughout this article, compassion and the practical aspects of death notification are emphasized.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A