Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Social Work

Major Professor

Alison Salloum


Adolescent, Bereavement, Child, Death, Grief


Although grief is a universal experience impacting the lives of many children and adolescents each year, not much study has been afforded to this population. In addition, the concept of a continuing attachment bond (CAB) or ongoing relationship to the deceased and its role as adaptive or maladaptive in the bereavement process is in its infancy of research among adult populations and is largely unstudied among bereaved youth. This mixed-methods study attempted to bridge the gap by examining the relationship between CABs among a sample of 50 bereaved youth (ages 11-17) and their bereaved adult caregivers. In addition, the study examined the relationship between CABs and symptomatology among these dyads. Qualitative findings revealed the most common expressions of CABs among youth and adults included attempts to maintain connection or closeness to the deceased, recalling memories about or unique characteristics of the deceased, and talking about the deceased. Quantitative results indicated there was not a significant relationship between caregiver bereavement symptomatology, caregiver CAB, and youth CAB. However, a significant relationship was revealed between youth bereavement symptomatology and youth CAB. In addition, findings revealed that youth bereavement symptomatology was the strongest predictor of CABs among youth. This study's results support the use of attachment theory in bereavement practice and suggest the need for social workers to incorporate both grief symptomatology and the ongoing relationship to the deceased in assessment and intervention with bereaved youth.

Included in

Social Work Commons