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Title: An exploration of young people's experiences of post-traumatic growth and their understanding of what helps in this process following bereavement
Author: Picton, Anna F.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2749 4012
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2013
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Bereavement during adolescence is not a minority experience. Despite this, bereavement research has tended to neglect this cohort of individuals (Ribbens McCarthy, 2007). Psychological conceptualisations of trauma and grief have tended to focus on the negative impact of such events, potentially limiting our understanding of post-trauma reactions (Kilmer, 2006). Posttraumatic growth (PTG) is a construct that aims to encapsulate the experience of those who endure horror and trauma and yet still experience positive growth, which is transformative and goes beyond ‘coping’ (Kilmer, 2006). This is a relatively new construct and research exploring PTG in young people directly is in its infancy. This study sets out to explore young people’s experiences following bereavement, in particular whether young people experience any personal or systemic growth and if so, what they feel helps in this process. This study recruited 7 young people who had experienced bereavement at least one year previously. Participants were interviewed about their experience of growth and change following bereavement. Data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Three super-ordinate themes were identified following the analysis of data, these were: being ‘in-relation’ with the deceased, the coping process and growth in self. The findings from this study suggest that young people do experience growth and change following bereavement, both personally and within their surrounding systems. This growth appears to be a result of a coping process in which the young people took an active role. The findings also demonstrate the importance of an ongoing relationship with the deceased that is evolving and continuous rather than static. Clinical implications and recommendations for future research are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral