Other losses

The effects of other losses on children have been less well studied than that of parent death. The death of a grandparent, particularly if he or she lived with the child or carried out caretaking functions, can be devastating to child and parents, but there has been no study of the effects. Sibling death carries a high morbidity for the survivors, but this can be mitigated by preparation for the death when possible and by participation in community rituals. (26) Adolescents losing a sibling often deny the finality and universality of death, even when these concepts are well established prior to the death. (27) The losses of friends, of pets, or of homes, whilst eliciting sadness, are less likely to provoke pathological grief reactions provided that the child is supported by parents and other adults who are not themselves withdrawn in grief. However, adolescents are affected by the suicide of a friend. In a controlled study, Brent et al.(28) found that there was a higher incidence of depression than in a matched population sample, although the incidence of attempted suicide was no higher.

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