Impact of sibling death on older adolescents
MetadataShow full item record
The grief of older adolescents when a sibling dies is an important and overlooked area. Despite the significance of sibling loss during adolescence, there is a striking lack of bereavement research on older adolescents who experience the death of a sibling. The purpose of this study was to investigate the meaning of sibling death for older adolescents to identify constructs to begin developing a substantive theory of adolescent sibling bereavement. The primary aims of this research were to: (1) describe the meaning of the experiences of older adolescents with sibling death; (2) identify the negative and positive aspects of the experience; (3) identify strategies that are perceived by older adolescents to be of value in helping them to come to terms with the loss; and (4) explain through grounded theory methodology the processes used by older adolescents to live with the death of their sibling. The grounded theory method was used for sample selection, data collection, and data analysis. The sample consisted of adolescents who had experienced the death of a sibling. Subjects were recruited until saturation occurred resulting in a sample of 13 participants. Data analysis consisted of open, axial, and selective coding, and memoing. Toward completion of analysis, verification interviews with six study participants were conducted to aid in validating and refining the theoretical model. The analytic process revealed the basic social process of Reconstructing Reality Through Continuing Bonds. The findings show that sibling bereavement was an ongoing process, interwoven with developmental tasks, and adolescents' relationship with their deceased sibling, family, friends, and society. Reconstructing Reality Through Continuing Bonds provides a theoretical model for investigating older adolescents and sibling death that: (1) views death as a normal human experience; (2) is developmentally specific; (3) explores continuing bonds; (4) identifies the social milieu; and (5) acknowledges and allows for change in the meaning of the loss for adolescents as they mature and face milestones and life events. Nurses must be aware that grief may re-emerge later in adolescents and educate their families regarding changes as the adolescents negotiate new roles and developmental stages.