Exploration of Bereaved Adolescents' Use of Coping with the Loss of a Family Member
Religious coping has been associated with positive psychological, emotional, and relational outcomes for adolescents dealing with various stressors. Clinical and theoretical literature on bereavement suggests that religious coping may be a resource for bereaved adolescents to deal with and overcome their distress following a loss due to death. However, no empirical research has yet been conducted on bereaved adolescents' individual coping methods let alone their use of religious coping methods. The aim of the current study was to explore the use of religious coping in bereaved adolescents and its role in their concurrent adjustment. Forty adolescents, aged 10 to 14, answered questions pertaining to their current internalizing and externalizing problems and their use of general and religious coping methods. Additionally, each participant's primary caregiver reported on the adolescent's adjustment and competency. Youth self-reports revealed infrequent use of general and religious coping methods and high levels of psychological distress. Correlation and regression analyses found positive associations between use of general coping and higher levels of self-reported internalizing and externalizing problems. Regression analyses suggested that religious methods of coping uniquely contributed to lower levels of self-reported externalizing problems. The current study provides the first empirical exploration of bereaved adolescents' individual use of general coping methods in response to their grief. This study also offers the first investigation of the association between religious coping and the adjustment of bereaved adolescents. Findings are discussed with regard to implications for intervention and directions for future research.
Families & family life;
Death & dying;
0384: Behavioral psychology
0622: Clinical psychology