Bereavement Coping and Intensity as a Function of Gender and Time of Loss for Undergraduate University Students


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Virginia Tech


One of the most painful events in life that an adolescent can face is the loss of someone with whom they had a strong emotional attachment (Harvey, 2002). This loss could be a friend, relative, parent, or any person that was strongly attached to the adolescent. In today's literature, there is a lack of attention given to adolescents, college students in particular who experience loss. This retrospective study consisted of 224 university students who had lost someone during adolescence or preadolescence. I examined if the impact of the stress accompanied by the loss and the coping strategies used to deal with loss differed by gender and the time in which students experienced their loss.

Results from this study indicate that gender plays a significant role in both coping behaviors and the impact of the loss on the individual. In particular, females were found have more coping behaviors and felt a higher degree of impact of the loss than males. Another variable that played a significant factor in this study was the time of loss, early or later in life. Those students who experienced their loss later in life (between 13-19) were impacted more than those who experienced their loss early in life (between 5-12). However, time of loss did not play a role in the individual coping behaviors exhibited.



College Undergraduates, Grief, Impact, Coping, Gender