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Exploring the lived meaning of grief for bereaving adolescent friends of a peer who has died Terkel, Romy Ronit

Abstract

Research on friendship bereavement in general (including adolescent friendship bereavement) has been overshadowed by the voluminous literature on familial bereavement. This is a surprising limitation of the bereavement literature given the growing population of "survivor friends" in society. In an effort to understand more about the grieving process adolescents endure after a friend of theirs had died, four stories of adolescent friendship bereavement were explored from a phenomenological perspective. Findings from this study reveal that adolescents are deeply affected by the death of a close friend and yet, often exist as a "hidden" population left to mourn the death of their friends silently and without formal resources, adult support, or death education. Implications for helping professionals are explored in light of these findings. Overall, it is recommended that parents, teachers, and counsellors be sensitive to the pain adolescents experience after losing a friend and offer them guidance and support in a manner which respects their changing boundaries.

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