Children Aged From 5 to 18 and Their Caregivers

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Bergman, AS., Axberg, U. & Hanson, E. (2017). When a parent dies – a systematic review of the effects of support programs for parentally bereaved children and their caregivers. BMC Palliat Care 16, 39. Web.

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The purpose of this research was to systematically review studies on the effects of support interventions for children who experienced the loss of a family member and their caregivers and to identify gaps in the research. The review included investigations regarding children aged 0-18, the impact of grief on them, support interventions, and their efficiency. Researchers used PubMed, PsycINFO, Cinahl, PILOTS, ProQuest Sociology (Sociological Abstracts and Social Services Abstracts) electronic databases and analyzed 17 studies from 1985 to 2015, 15 of which were randomized controlled studies. All research articles were summarized based on the following categories: “type of intervention, reference, and grade of evidence, study population, evaluation design, measure, and findings…” (Bergman et al., 2017, p. 1).

The systematic review found that there are positive group effects for children and caregivers in different areas, including the significant impact of support interventions for children’s traumatic grief and parent’s emotion of being supported; moderate effects for positive parenting behavior, parent’s and children’s mental health and health status, grief discussions and relief (Bergman et al., 2017). The research revealed the significant effects of grief and loss in children, including children’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, anxiety, depression, self-esteem and behavior issues, internalizing, and externalizing.

I am of the opinion that this study is relevant for my teaching project because it summarizes the significant impact of grief on children and evaluates the effectiveness of support interventions on children and their caregivers. The article provided recommendations on the usage of best practices to support children after losing a family member that I can implement in the project and ensure that the suggestions provided are appropriate.

Melhem, N.M., Porta, G., Shamseddeen, W., Walker Payne, M., Brent, D.A. (2011). Grief in children and adolescents bereaved by sudden parental death. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 68(9), 911–919. Web.

The aim of the study was to research the existence and development of grief in children and adolescents and reports different grief reactions happening in children after unexpected parental death and the impact of these reactions on following psychiatric and functional state. Researchers created a longitudinal study from 2002 to 2007 of bereaved children, adolescents, and their caregivers with a comprehensive evaluation of their emotions and status once a year and three years after a parental death (Melhem et al., 2011). Analysts found people using coroner’s information and newspaper ads and included 182 parentally bereaved children between 7 and 18 years, whose parents died due to several reasons, including suicide, unintentional injury, or inevitable natural causes.

The research identified that children experience three different directions of grief development and reactions. The first trajectory indicated that grief emotions stay the same 33 months after death with no shifts (Melhem et al., 2011). The second direction emphasized that children with records of depression have prolonged grief emotions, experience increased rates of functional disorder, and are exposed to depression. The final group revealed enhanced grief emotion 9 months after death that gradually declined; however, these children and adolescents might tend to have a functional impairment and higher risk of incident depression.

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I believe that this study is relevant to my teaching project since it provides evidence that managing grief reactions and specifically depression and functional status are essential to mitigate the impact of the loss of a parent on children and adolescents. The study highlighted the necessity to address different stakeholders in grief mitigation, including surviving parent and other caregivers that should get guidelines to overcome the loss.

Pileggi, V. (2019). The crossroads of grief. Reflecting on our work with marginalized grieving youth. Children and Youth Grief Network. Web.

The research report intended to summarize information on the children’s loss of relatives, grief, reactions, and methods to handle the situation. It is noted in the report that 1 in 7 children will experience the loss of a parent or sibling before they turn 20 (Pileggi, 2019). The Crossroads project used three analysis methods; first is the literature review based on peer-reviewed articles and statistical data. The second is the original investigation with the collaboration of grief and community organizations. The final step was conducting exchange events with four groups of stakeholders (clinicians, healthcare providers, educators, and families). 192 articles were reviewed to compose the literature review, the initial research referenced 180 people who work with children experiencing grief and loss, and 4 exchange seminars were created.

Literature review, original research, and knowledge-sharing events reported that marginalized groups of children and adolescents experience similar barriers to accessing grief support interventions. They express the opinion that there is a lack of professional caregivers who can assist in overcoming loss. Experts in the research phase indicated different internal and external challenges of children and professionals, namely fear, incompatibility, lack of relevant experience and limited resources, and others (Pileggi, 2019). Analysts suggest adopting a health equity method to manage grief care, continuously analyze data and reactions from children, and collaborate with professional organizations to handle the grief effects.

I think that the research report is a sound source that should be used in the teaching project because it provides opinions of stakeholders that can help children overcome the loss of a family member. It includes data on appropriate and effective methods to navigate through barriers and differences in children’s backgrounds.

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