Date of Paper

5-2013

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Kendra J. Garrett

Abstract

This qualitative study examined gender differences in bereavement, particularly among couples after the loss of a child. Data were collected through semi-standardized interviews with four helping professionals that work with couples during the bereavement process following the death of a child. Common themes were found through an open coding method that analyzed the data for commonalities among the participants. There were four different themes that emerged from the data: reactions and coping mechanisms, family structure, external influences and effect on the marriage. The majority of the findings from this study coincided with previous research. Implications for this study suggest further research into the similarities and differences of bereavement that couples experience after the loss of a child. Further research will only strengthen the understanding of gender differences in bereavement and couples, and professionals can utilize that knowledge throughout the bereavement process.

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