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Title: Bereavement in childhood and the role of attachment
Author: Aleem, Sadia
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 9347
Awarding Body: University of Bedfordshire
Current Institution: University of Bedfordshire
Date of Award: 2018
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The purpose of this research was to utilise attachment theory in understanding the experience of bereavement in childhood. Research objectives were addressed by using a mixed method design. Study One explored how experience of bereavement in childhood relates to current attachment style in adulthood. This was a qualitative interview-based study utilising thematic analysis and a quantitative assessment of attachment styles. Twenty-four participants were employed. The established Experience in Close Relationships (ECR) questionnaire was used. The results through the thematic analysis indicated that people with different attachment styles provide different narratives about their childhood bereavement. This study provides evidence that this was so. Study Two was a co-relational study employing 121 participants who experienced loss of caregiver in childhood. Four established questionnaires were used: Inventory of Complicated Grief (ICG; Prigerson et al., 1995), Experience in Close Relationships Questionnaire-Revised (ECR; Fraley, Waller, & Brennan, 2000), Separation Anxiety Symptom Inventory (SASI; Silove, Manicavasagar, O’Connell, Blaszczynski, Wagner, & Henry, 1993) and Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI; Parker, Tupling, & Brown, 1979). The results showed that complicated grief was related to parental care and overprotection, separation anxiety, and adult attachment style. Anxious attachment style fully mediated the effects of parental bonding on complicated grief. Study Three was a quantitative co-relational study to compare two groups of parents (with and without a bereaved child) on child behavioural differences and links between child behavioural problems and parental characteristics. Two hundred and forty participants were employed: 139 parents of children with bereavement experience and 101 without bereavement experience. Five established questionnaires were used: Child Stress Questionnaire (CSQ), Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), The Parenting Scale (PS), Inventory of Complicated Grief (ICG), and Experience in Close Relationships Questionnaire-Revised (ECR-R). The results showed that child problems were closely associated to parental qualities. It is proposed that this research can make a contribution towards utilising attachment theory in understanding the experience of bereavement in children.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: bereavement ; attachment ; attachment style ; parenting ; parenting style ; unresolved grief ; grief ; childhood behaviour problems ; C800 Psychology