• Dennis Bo Hansen
4. semester, Psykologi, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
Theorists have debated for decades the many ways in which bereavement affects people and have studied the different trajectories of grief after a death, loss or tragedy. For most people, the process of grieving follows a proscribed emotional path which they work through emerging at its finish with some insight, acceptance or some form of closure. Others, however, develop psychological difficulties and have an increased risk of mental health problems in the future. When children experience grief, the implications can be especially unfortunate because their brains and personalities are still maturing and psychological strain from the loss can affect their emotional and psychological development in multiple ways. In this thesis, it will be considered how the loss of a parent affects the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children from the ages of 6-12 years old and how this knowledge can be implemented to create better treatment outcomes. First, similarities between a child in grief or trauma psychology and a child with PTSD will be presented in order to give a better picture of what characterises a child whose parent has died. Next, I will elaborate on how temperament, affect regulation, and mentalization have a significant impact on the child’s personality and the development of PTSD. Further, I will examine how attachment contributes to these developments and how early traumas can affect the entire attachment system. Environmental factors also play an important role in the child’s development of PTSD especially parents and parenting capabilities, thus the role of the parents will be examined. Friends and other family also play an important role in helping the child with the psychological strain from secondary stressors following the loss. Finally peri-trauma variables are discussed. These are all the factors that occur during the traumatic event which might affect reactions or recovery. These factors for example include type of the trauma and level of exposure. In the second part of the thesis, the Dual Process Model of Coping with Bereavement (Stroebe & Schut, 1999) will be presented to illustrate a healthy grieving process. Next, I will discuss how the mental health community can intervene regarding children with PTSD so that the disorder can be lifted and they follow a healthy grief process instead. Next, it is discussed why assessment of high-risk children is important and how the task should be undertaken in order to find those whose needs are the most grave. Lastly, it is examined how treatment efforts should be carried out, as well as in which areas the treatment of parentally bereaved children with PTSD should be focused.
Antal sider80
Udgivende institutionAalborg Universitet
ID: 14736736