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Title: A semiotic analysis of texts relevant to childhood bereavement
Author: Bailey, S. N.
Awarding Body: University of Salford
Current Institution: University of Salford
Date of Award: 2013
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Studies of childhood bereavement suggest that communication is a crucial issue for adults and for children (Silverman and Worden, 1993). Closed communication seems to be a ‘natural’ adult response and this seems to be shared by some professionals. This study was designed to explore aspects of communication between adults and children experiencing loss or impending loss. The study consisted of five investigations: 1) An analysis of narratives obtained in interviews with 4 adults bereaved in childhood; 2) An exploration of 8 narratives illustrating the theme of children’s grief in literature; 3) An exploration of communication strategies used by 6 counsellors working with bereaved children; 4) An exploration of 6 counsellors’ communication strategies obtained by interviews with counsellors and volunteers and 5)An evaluation of a support programme using qualitative data from brief interviews with 24 participating children, attending 2 distinct, age appropriate, groups. A semiotic analysis of texts culled from the investigations was carried out. In Investigations 1 and 2, it was established that silence functioned as a sign whilst, unsurprisingly, the investigations in which counsellors’ communication was analysed (3 and 4) showed that empathy and dialogue were central. The specific question addressed in the first investigation was whether closed communication had operated in the lives of bereaved children who are now adults and, in the second, whether this is found across generations and cultures. The findings in both cases gave an affirmative answer. The evaluation of group support for 24 children suggested that the programme had been helpful in resolving shorter term effects of loss and lends some support to the notion of ‘Continuing Bonds’. The research question formulated for the study was: What psychological tools, including signs, operate in adult-child communication in this context. The main finding was that both open and closed styles of communication are employed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Health and Wellbeing ; Memory, Text and Place