Effects on families from the death of a family member

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Effects on families from the death of a family member in the AIFS library catalogue

The neglected victims : what (little) we know about child survivors of domestic homicide.

Mertin P
Children Australia v. 44 no. 3 Sep 2019: 121-125
This article discusses what is known about the impact of domestic homicide on children. There is little research on children who have experienced the murder of their mother by an intimate partner, with these children in effect losing both parents due to incarceration or murder-suicide. The article looks at studies from Australia and overseas, including immediate and long-term impacts, prior exposure to family violence and other adversity, and living arrangements and care after the incident,. Another aspect is the impact within the broader family network, with other adult family members also experiencing grief and trauma at a time when they are being called on to support the child.

The economic impacts of stillbirth in Australia

PricewaterhouseCoopers (Australia), Stillbirth Foundation Australia
Australia : Stillbirth Foundation Australia, 2016.
The stillbirth death of a baby is a traumatic event that has considerable impacts on those affected. Stillbirth Foundation Australia has commissioned this study to better understand the economic and societal costs of stillbirth and highlight this important issue. The study estimates the direct and indirect costs of stillbirth for a five-year period from 2016-2020 across 13 identified cost categories in Australia. These include direct costs such as stillbirth investigations, hospital fees, and counselling; indirect costs such as funerals, absenteeism, and divorce; and intangible costs such as the impacts on mental well-being and relationships.

The ripple effect: understanding the exposure and impact of suicide in Australia

Suicide Prevention Australia (Organization), University of New England
Sydney, NSW : Suicide Prevention Australia, 2016.
This report explores the personal impact of suicide in Australia. Drawing on a survey of 3, 220 Australians, it investigates how many people know someone who committed suicide and the distress it brought, and makes recommendations for policy and further research.

Stressful events, social health issues and psychological distress in Aboriginal women having a baby in South Australia : implications for antenatal care.

Weetra D, Glover K, Buckskin M, Ah Kit J, Leane C, Mitchell A, Stuart-Butler D, Turner M, Yelland J, Gartland D and Brown S
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth v. 16 26 Apr 2016: Article 88
Indigenous women in Australia are 2-3 times more likely to experience adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes than their non-Indigenous peers. This article explores this further. Using data from the Aboriginal Families Study in South Australia, it investigates the frequency and types of stressful events and social health issues experienced by Indigenous women during pregnancy and the relationship with postpartum psychological distress. The study found that over half of the participants experienced three or more social health issues during pregnancy, including: housing problems, bereavement, being pestered for money, and having to leave home because of family arguments. More than a third of those who reported three or more social health issues also experienced high/very high postpartum psychological distress.

Suicide in Australian children: an examination of characteristics and impact on parents

Soole R
This thesis investigates risk factors for suicide among children under 15 years of age, using data from the Child Death Register in Queensland and the Queensland Suicide Register. It also explores the impact of a child's suicide on parents and how this compares to the grief experiences of parents bereaved by external causes of death. Twelve bereaved parents were interviewed. The parents of children who had died by suicide were also asked about possible warning signs in their children beforehand. During the period 2004-2012, suicide was the second leading cause of death in children, with remoteness of location, Indigenous ethnicity, being know to child protection system, and family conflict were risk factors in child suicide. Incidence increased with age and the gender asymmetry seen in adult suicides was less evident.

Supporting parents following perinatal death.

Den Hartog P
Grief Matters v. 17 no. 2 Winter 2014: 58-61
This article provides insights into the experiences of parents who have lost a child, and presents the parents' advice on coming to terms with loss and seeking support. It draws on the comments of parents connected to the SIDS and Kids NSW and Victoria self-help program, either through feedback or in interviews undertaken to support resource development.

Dynamics and dimensions : ambiguous loss and disenfranchised grief of partners following a miscarriage, stillbirth or TOPFA.

Chaffey E and Whyte J
Grief Matters v. 17 no. 2 Winter 2014: 52-57
There has been little research on the impact of pregnancy loss on partners. This article helps guide future research by providing a framework of the complex context of personal and social dynamics involved.

The impact of pregnancy loss on women's adult relationships.

Collins C, Riggs D and Due C
Grief Matters v. 17 no. 2 Winter 2014: 44-50
This article explores how the experience of pregnancy loss affects a woman's relationships with her partner, family, and friends. It presents findings from interviews with 15 women in South Australia in their thirties, middle, and older age, raising themes of emotional isolation, deeper connections and bonding, compromised relationships, and personal transformation.

Perinatal loss : application of loss and grief theories.

Wilson T
Grief Matters v. 17 no. 2 Winter 2014: 32-36
The death of a baby at birth is one of the most significant events a parent could face. This article outlines the major loss and grief theories that have influenced practice in caring for bereaved parents.

Bereavement in childhood: the impact on psychological and educational outcomes and the effectiveness of support services

Akerman R and Statham J
London : Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre, Institute of Education, 2014.
The Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre has undertaken two linked pieces of research on childhood bereavement for the Department for Education. The first was a rapid literature review, covering evidence both on educational and psychological outcomes of childhood bereavement and on the effectiveness of services provided for this group. The second piece of work involved new analysis of 1970 British Cohort Study data, considering outcomes at age 30 for over 500 participants who had experienced the death of their mother or father by the time they were 16. This report presents the findings of the first study. It reviews the British and international literature on the short and long term of bereavement on psychological wellbeing and educational participation and achievement and the risk and protective factors, as well the effectiveness of such services as school-based intervention programs.

Multiple disadvantage

Kikkawa D
Canberra, A.C.T. : National Centre for Longitudinal Data, Australian Government Department of Social Services, 2014
This paper examines the extent to which multiple disadvantage affects social and emotional outcomes among 6 and 7 year old Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian children. It compares data from 'Growing up in Australia: the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children' (LSAC) and 'Footprints in Time: the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children' (LSIC). This paper is a summary version of the chapter 'Multiple disadvantage and major life events', in the forthcoming report 'Footprints in time - the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children: report from wave 5.'

Social work's role in prenatal diagnosis and genetic services : current practice and future potential.

Azri S, Larmar S and Cartmel J
Australian Social Work v. 67 no. 3 Jul 2014: 348-362
Although the development of sophisticated technologies associated with prenatal testing processes have assisted in the practice of prenatal diagnosis, limited attention has been given to the complexities surrounding the decision-making processes for pregnant women following a poor or fatal diagnosis. An emerging international body of knowledge suggests that the process of having prenatal testing and then deciding on whether to continue a wanted pregnancy is often difficult and traumatic. In the last 50 years, social workers have played an invaluable role in the provision of holistic counselling and support for children and families in a range of areas and contexts. This paper highlights the unique contributions that social workers can bring to the field of prenatal testing. It emphasises the consideration of strengths and values inherent within social work practice that provides appropriate and timely support for women who have received a poor or fatal diagnosis following prenatal testing.

The effect of family disruption on children's personality development: evidence from British longitudinal dat

Prevoo T and Ter Weel B
Bonn, Germany : IZA, 2014.
"This research documents the effects of different forms of family disruptions - measured by separation, divorce and death - on personality development of British children included in the 1970 British Cohort Study. There are statistically significant correlations between family disruptions prior to the age of 16 and personality development in early childhood. Parental divorce has the largest negative effect on a child's personality development. Family disruptions have smaller effects on personality development when children are older and patterns differ by gender. The relationship between personality development and family disruption is partially driven by selection. Placebo regressions reveal significant correlations between family disruption and personality development before disruption. The omitted variable bias is mitigated by investigating mechanisms through which the selection operates."--Author abstract.

Exploring pet loss for survivors of child sexual abuse : a hitherto unchartered terrain of trauma impact and recovery.

Taylor S and Breen L
Child Abuse Review v. 23 no. 5 Sep/Oct 2014: 353-360
There is research literature on the link between survivors of traumatic childhoods and their pets, with one study showing that pets provide unconditional love, security, and a sense of escape for child abuse survivors. Indeed, pets have been described as an integral part of the healing process for many. However, there is little research on the impact of pet death or loss on survivors - or the impact of perpetrators' threats against the pet. This article reviews the available evidence and discusses the implications for trauma recovery.

Exploring maternal grief : a mixed-methods investigation of mothers' responses to the death of a child from cancer.

Gerrish N, Neimeyer R and Bailey S
This article explores the impact of losing a child to cancer on bereaved mothers' self-identity and means of coping. Interviews with 13 bereaved mothers were conducted, investigating the concept of 'meaning making' in both adaptive and problematic responses to loss.

Motherless mothers : maternally bereaved women in their everyday roles as mothers.

Rowe B and Harman B
Journal of Family Studies v. 20 no. 1 Apr 2014: 28-38
Motherless mothers are women who lose their mothers to death prior to having their children, and therefore raise their children without the maternal support and guidance afforded to many women whose mothers are still alive (Edelman, 2006). A qualitative research design was used to gain an in-depth understanding of the everyday experiences faced by motherless mothers. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with ten motherless mothers. Four major themes emerged including grief, support, absence of knowledge, and changes to self following loss. Results provide insight into the ongoing influence a mother's death can have on a daughter's life and draw distinction to specific issues faced by motherless mothers in their everyday mother roles. Results of this research also have implications for clinicians and others working with maternally bereaved women who are entering or experiencing the mother role.

Mental health: findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health

Holden L, Dobson A, Byles J, Loxton D, Dolja X, Hockey R, Lee C, Chojenta C, Reilly N, Mishra G, McLaughlin D, Pachana N, Tooth L and Harris M
Newcastle, N.S.W. : Women's Health Australia, University of Newcastle, 2013.
This report looks into the mental health of women in Australia, drawing on data from the Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. This longitudinal study commenced in 1996, with three cohorts of women then aged 18-23, 45-50 and 70-75. The report investigates patterns and prevalence of mental health problems, use of mental health services, and factors associated with poor mental health, including education, diet, smoking, intimate partner violence, social support, and physical health conditions such as arthritis and heart disease. It also examines life stages and mental health, including perinatal mental health and postnatal depression, being a carer, and widowhood.

My grief : a resource developed for those bereaved by the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement
Mulgrave, Vic. : Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement, 2013.
This booklet is one of a suite of resources developed for people bereaved by the 2009 Victorian bushfires. It provides information on the experience and nature of grief, trauma and triggers, self-care and maintaining good health, coping strategies, and seeking support.

My grief journey : reflections of those bereaved by the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement
Mulgrave, Vic. : Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement in partnership with RealTime Health, 2013.
This DVD video is one of a suite of resources developed for people bereaved by the 2009 Victorian bushfires. It features interviews with 5 people who reflect on their experiences of grief, how they were affected, what helped, and how their grief evolved over time.

Military children and families

Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Brookings Institution
Princeton, NJ : The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and The Brookings Institution, 2013

Urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children's exposure to stressful events : a cross-sectional study.

Askew D, Schluter P, Spurling G, Bond C and Brown A
Medical Journal of Australia v. 199 no. 1 8 Jul 2013: 42-45
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience higher rates of stressful events than the general population, in part due to the lasting impact of colonisation, intergenerational trauma, and ongoing disadvantage. Indigenous children living in urban areas experience higher rates again. This article examines the frequency and types of stressful events experienced by urban Indigenous children and its association with physical and cognitive development. Data was taken from annual health check records at the Inala Indigenous Health Service in Brisbane, Queensland, and compared to parent reports of stressful events ever occurring in the family and concerns about child behaviour. The study found children who had experienced stressful events had poorer physical health and more parental concern about behavioural issues than those who had not.

A longitudinal study of grieving in family caregivers of people with dementia

Shuter P
"Studies of grief in caregivers of a relative with dementia have concluded that grief is one of the greatest barriers to care giving and is a primary determinant of caregiver well-being. The accumulation of losses, in conjunction with experiences unique to dementia care giving, place family caregivers at risk of complicated grief. This occurs when integration of the death does not take place following bereavement and has been associated with a range of negative health outcomes. The aim of this research was to determine the influence of grief, in addition to other factors representing both positive and negative aspects of the role, on the health related quality of life of family caregivers of people with dementia, prior to and following the death of their relative with dementia ... The research comprised three studies. Study 1 was a scoping study that involved a series of semi-structured interviews with thirteen participants who were family caregivers of people with severe dementia or whose relative with dementia had died in the previous twelve months. The results of this study in conjunction with factors identified in the literature informed data collection for the further studies. Study 2 was a cross sectional survey of fifty caregivers recruited when their relative was in the moderate to severe stage of dementia. This study provided the baseline data for Study 3, a prospective cohort follow up study. Study 3 consisted of seventeen participants followed up at two time points after the death of their relative with dementia: six weeks and then six months following the death of the relative with dementia ... Overall results indicate that addressing the risk and protective factors including subjective appraisal of their care giving role, resilience, social support and satisfaction with end of life care of their relative, has the potential to both ameliorate negative health outcomes and to promote improved health for these caregivers."--Author abstract.

Delivery of bereavement and family support services through the Defence Community Organisation: Department of Defence, Department of Veterans' Affairs

Australian National Audit Office
Barton, A.C.T. : Australian National Audit Office, 2012.
In 1996, the Australian Department of Defence formed the Defence Community Organisation (DCO) as the key service delivery agency to support the welfare and morale of ADF members and their families, and ameliorate the adverse effects of service life. This audit assesses the management and effectiveness of DCO's delivery and coordination of support services to ADF families. Types of services reviewed include: bereavement support for families of ADF members who die in service, support for seriously ill or injured ADF members to enable family visits, support for families during training or deployment, relocation and mobility support including school transfers and accessing different state services, the Defence Child Care Program, counselling services, community capacity building to link families with local communities, and management and policy advice to the Department. This report presents the findings of the audit and recommendations to improve service delivery. Overall, the audit finds that the Department of Defence's management and delivery of family support services, through DCO, has substantial strengths and the Department is broadly successful in delivering assistance to ADF members and families.

On grief, fathering and the male role in men's accounts of stillbirth.

Bonnette S and Broom A
Journal of Sociology v. 48 no. 3 Sep 2012: 248-265
This article explores men's experiences of stillbirth, grief, and fatherhood. Current research on pregnancy loss focuses on the mother's experience, positioning father grief as lesser and placing men in supportive rather than expressive roles. This article extends the research with a qualitative study of 12 men in New South Wales who experienced pregnancy loss, regarding the male role, grief and loss, and the formation of fatherhood.

Family grief therapy : a vital model in oncology, palliative care and bereavement.

Schuler T, Zaider T and Kissane D
Family Matters no. 90 2012: 77-86
Life-threatening medical illness, such as cancer, brings to the family a stressful life event that challenges coping and adaptation. Family functioning has been shown to be predictive of psychosocial outcome for family members caring for a dying relative, including adaptation during a subsequent period of bereavement. This article examines Family Focused Grief Therapy, a method of family-centered care based on the use of family therapy for those families at risk of maladaptive outcome. This model has been shown to prevent complicated grief and depressive disorders in bereavement. Optimising family support via palliative care services can do much to sustain the wellbeing of family caregivers.

Supporting children & young people through change, loss and grief: an evaluation of the Seasons for Growth program

Newell S and Moss A
Lismore, N.S.W. : Centre for Children and Young People, Southern Cross University, 2011.
Seasons for Growth is a grief and loss group education program for children and young people who have experienced significant change in their lives, usually as a result of death, separation or divorce. Though evaluation studies from overseas have consistently found that the program has a strong, positive effect on children and young people, these evaluations have each experienced some limitations in sample size, scope or response rate. This new study was commissioned to conduct a larger-scale evaluation of the program. This report begins by providing an overview of the program and the development of the current evaluation tools. It then presents the evaluation results from 57 groups conducted across six regions in Australia, New Zealand and Scotland, involving a total of 334 children and young people aged between 6 and 16 years old. This new study support the findings previous evaluations, finding that the program is very well received and highly valued, and effectively supports children and young people through times of change, loss and grief. It is shown to build participants' understanding and skills, to enhance their emotional wellbeing, to enable them to express their views, thoughts and feelings and to strengthen their social and support networks. However, areas for refinement and further research are also identified.

Long-term impact of childhood bereavement: preliminary analysis of the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70)

Parsons S
London : Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre, Institute of Education, 2011.
The Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre has undertaken two linked pieces of research on childhood bereavement for the Department for Education. The first was a rapid literature review, covering evidence both on educational and psychological outcomes of childhood bereavement and on the effectiveness of services provided for this group. The second piece of work involved new analysis of 1970 British Cohort Study data, considering outcomes at age 30 for over 500 participants who had experienced the death of their mother or father by the time they were 16. This report presents the findings of this second study. It describes some of the characteristics of bereaved children and their families and investigates the correlates of childhood bereavement with measures of adult wellbeing, including adult educational qualifications, general health, mental health, and employment status. Comparisons are made between men and women and between this bereaved population, the general study population, and people who had experienced divorce or separation in childhood.

Childhood trauma reactions: a guide for teachers from preschool to year 12.

Centre for National Research on Disability and Rehabilitation Medicine
Qld : CONROD, University of Queensland, 2011
"This resource package is designed to assist teachers in becoming more attuned to identifying emotional and behavioural difficulties in their students following a traumatic event and provides information on what they can do to prevent the likelihood of children developing long-term adverse reactions." -- Introduction.

Supporting children's social and emotional wellbeing : does 'having a say' matter?

Graham A and Fitzgerald R
Children and Society v. 25 no. 6 Nov 2011: 447-457
This article highlights the importance of participation - or having a say - in improving children's social and emotional wellbeing. Examples are taken from the Seasons for Growth program for children experiencing change, grief, or loss.

Adolescent grief and bereavement.

Eugene, OR : Integrated Research Services, 2011.
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