Conclusion

Bereavement in childhood, particularly the loss of a parent, represents a significant adversity, although the majority of bereaved children do not develop other than transient symptoms. Nevertheless there is evidence that a brief preventive intervention can reduce subsequent morbidity, and the task for the future is to develop tools for accurately predicting those who are likely to be at highest risk. A start has been made using a parental screening instrument developed by Worden and his colleagues.(37> Children who lose a parent through suicide, homicide, accident, or disaster, especially if they have witnessed the death, are at high risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder and their treatment needs should be assessed by mental health professionals.

Chapter References

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15. Harris, T., Brown, G., and Bifulco, A. (1986). Loss of parent in childhood and adult psychiatric disorder: the role of lack of adequate parental care. Psychological Medicine, 16, 641-59.

16. Bowlby, J. (1980). Attachment and loss, Vol. 3. Hogarth Press, London.

17. Parkes, C.M., Laungani, P., and Young, B. (ed.) (1997). Death and bereavement across cultures. Routledge, London.

18. Furman, E. (1974). A child's parent dies. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.

19. Van Eerdewegh, M., Clayton, P., and Van Eerdewegh, P. (1985). The bereaved child: variables influencing early psychopathology. British Journal of Psychiatry, 147, 188-94.

20. Cathcart, F. (1988). Seeing the body after death (editorial). British Medical Journal, 297, 997-8.

21. Weller, E., Weller, R., Fristad, M., Cain, S., and Bowes, J. (1988). Should children attend their parent's funeral? Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 27, 559-62.

22. Gregory, I. (1965). Anterospective data following the childhood loss of a parent. Archives of General Psychiatry, 13, 99-109.

23. Kloeppel, D. and Hollins, S. (1989). Double handicap: mental retardation and death in the family. Death Studies, 13, 31-8.

24. Siegel, D. (1997). Memory and trauma. In Psychological trauma: a developmental approach (ed. D. Black, J. Harris Hendriks, M. Newman, and G. Mezey), pp. 44-53. Gaskell, London.

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28. Brent, D., Perper, J., Moritz, G., et al. (1992). Psychiatric effects of exposure to suicide among the friends and acquaintances of adolescent suicide victims. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 31, 629-39.

29. Black, D. and Urbanowicz, M.A. (1985). Bereaved children—family intervention. In Recent research in developmental psychopathology (ed. J. Stevenson), pp. 179-87. Pergamon, Oxford.

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31. Lansdown, R. and Benjamin, G. (1985). The development of the concept of death in children aged 5-9 years. Child Care Health Development, 11, 13-20.

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35. Stokes, J. and Crossley, D. (1995). Camp Winston. In Interventions with bereaved children (ed. S. Smith and M. Pennells), pp. 172-92. Jessica Kingsley, London.

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37. Worden, J. (1996). Children and grief: when a parent dies, p. 178. Guilford Press, New York.

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