Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

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


Social Work

First Advisor

Jessica Toft


Social Work


There has been an increase of focus surrounding aiding children who have lost a loved one by death over the past decade. It is broadly assumed that school-based grief groups for children are a beneficial way to support children, who are experiencing the loss of a loved one, in a safe and familiar environment. This systematic literature review was designed to explore the research question: What are the different models and goals of grief groups in an elementary school setting for children who have lost a loved one due to death? The review was set up using peer-reviewed articles, which focused on grief groups in elementary school setting. The databases SocINDEX, PsychINFO and Child Development and Adolescent Studies were systematically searched using the terms; “Elementary, Grief Groups and Schools” “Goals and Grief Groups and Schools” “Structure and Grief Groups and Schools and Children.” Out of these searches, nine articles satisfied criteria for inclusion and were used in the final review. Three themes emerged from the research surrounding grief groups in the elementary school setting, which included; selection criteria for selecting members for the grief groups, the structure of the grief groups and the goals of the grief groups. Selection criterion used to select members of the grief groups was not originally part of the research question but has shown to provide significant information surrounding the structure and goals of the grief groups. The research suggests inconsistencies between different grief group models implemented in elementary schools. Moving forward more research is required with grief groups for loss of a loved one due to death for elementary aged children in the school setting. Exploring the effectiveness of different models used for grief groups in elementary schools will be beneficially to when finding a common model that can be used across all schools as a guideline.

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