ERIC Number: EJ813364
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 52
Intergenerational Family Support Following Infant Death
White, Diana L.; Walker, Alexis J.; Richards, Leslie N.
International Journal of Aging and Human Development, v67 n3 p187-208 2008
The death of a child is a traumatic, nonnormative family life event. Although parental bereavement has received substantial attention, little research has focused on extended family members affected by a child's death, and still less on how multiple family members perceive and respond to one another following the loss. Guided by a life course perspective, this article examines social support between grandparents and their adult children in the aftermath of infant death. Through structured, open-ended interviews, 21 grandparents and 19 parents from 10 families described how they provided support to and received support from their intergenerational partners. Data were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Six categories of support were identified: being present, acknowledgment, performing immediate tasks, information, unskilled support, and no support. Most support was provided by grandparents to adult children rather than from adult children to grandparents. All families reported significant support from at least one grandparent and nearly all families described ambivalent relationships that complicated support. Gender, family lineage, and family history were major influences. Multiple family perspectives about a significant life event contribute to our understanding about the intersection between individual and family life.
Descriptors: Grounded Theory, Family (Sociological Unit), Family Attitudes, Family Life, Family Programs, Infant Mortality, Infants, Parent Child Relationship, Grandparents, Family Role, Social Support Groups, Interviews, Parents, Gender Differences, Genealogy, Qualitative Research, Grief
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A