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May 2022

Adolescents' perceptions and experiences of death and grieving

Author(s): Welsh, L. A.

Journal/Book: Adolescence. 1996; 31: 3089C Clairemont Dr, Suite 383, San Diego, CA 92117. Libra Publishers Inc. 585-595.

Abstract: Although there is a considerable body of knowledge regarding adolescent grief, little research has focused on adolescents' perceptions and experiences of death and grief from those who are not currently in the bereavement process. Thirty-two adolescents between the ages of 13 to 18 were interviewed about their experiences of death and loss. Nineteen of the subjects attended suburban public high school, while 13 resided in a facility for adjudicated urban youth. Findings indicated that subjects were aware of death by age nine. In this sample, urban adolescents' perception of death involved reference to violence (25%) or religion (16.6%) in contrast to the suburban youths who referred less frequently to violence (0%) and religion (5.3%). The most distasteful aspect of death to the suburban students was suffering (31.6%), while it was loss of loved ones to the adjudicated youths (25%). Since talking and listening as comforting strategies were used by both groups (66.7%), background environment must be considered when examining adolescents' experiences and perceptions of death.

Note: Article SM Morin, Shippensburg Univ, Shippensburg, PA 17257 USA


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