Current Content
Volume 42 - Number 6
November/December 2016

Understanding and Supporting Grieving Adolescents and Young Adults
Michelle Palmer, Micah Saviet, and Jeremy Tourish

The adolescent and young adult years are a time of growth, change, and challenge. Experiencing the loss of a family member or friend during this period of life can have a profound effect on a young personís social functioning, physical and mental health, and development. Research demonstrates that the grief reactions of adolescents and young adults differ from those of adults, and that loss is an individual experience that varies widely throughout each developmental stage. Further, youth who struggle to cope with a significant loss without support and guidance are more likely to experience a greater intensity of grief and distress. When providing support to a grieving adolescent or young adult, it is important to understand normal development, appreciate common grief responses, and identify deviations. It is also important to know about available interventions and supportive strategies, specifically for this age group. With this knowledge, pediatric nurses and other helping professionals can tailor guidance, support, and referrals to suit the specific needs of individual bereaved youth.