Date of Paper

3-2014

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

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

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Karen Carlson

Abstract

Experiences of trauma, loss, and grief have been shown to increase the likelihood of developing serious mental health difficulties and to decrease academic performance, which in turn can be harmful to an individual’s success. This research study examined the perceived prevalence of traumatic loss and grief within inner city high schools, as well as the methods used by inner city high school social workers to address traumatic loss and grief experienced by students, through the use of an online mixed-methods survey. Results showed that all participants perceive a percentage of their student population have experienced traumatic loss and grief, some reporting rates as high as 95%. Findings also showed the sample frequently identifies students in need of traumatic loss and grief services through referral, assessment, and building relationships. However, school social workers lack a standardized method for identifying youth in need of services. Many participants reported providing school-based traumatic loss and grief interventions that were brief in nature, however also reported referring students on to other school professionals or to outside resources. Lastly, findings demonstrated that participants find school-based traumatic loss and grief services to be beneficial to the student population. There are implications to the research findings, including the small sample size and low response rate, however the research sparks numerous questions regarding school-based services for trauma, loss, and grief

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