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Unresolved Grief and The Adolescent Life

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Presentation on theme: "Unresolved Grief and The Adolescent Life"— Presentation transcript:

1 Unresolved Grief and The Adolescent Life
Angela Ochsenbein Adolescent Risk Taking (Psych 4900) Weber State University

2 Case Study The Perfect Example
Pseudo Name, Jimmy Stewart -15 Family friend who is in a rehab center for chemical addiction. He stated that he use various chemicals to self medicate internal pain that is a result of unresolved grief. Participated in sexually risky behaviors Mom died unexpectedly and family became very distant. Family after sudden death of mother Dad and Jimmy were the only two left in the house. Jimmy has an older brother in college that lives far away and hardly ever visits. Dad and Jimmy move to a condo and Jimmy is basically left to fend for himself. Communication amongst the family diminished. Dad gets remarried Jimmy is not asked if he is okay with this situation and is discouraged from giving an opinion on the matter. Dad’s sons met new step mom three times before they got married Jimmy doesn’t feel like he is part of the family so he resorts to others for acceptance and love.

3 Rask, Kaunonen & Paunonen-Ilmonen (2002)
Adolescent coping after the death of a loved one. Sample and data obtainment 89 adolescents in Finland, 70% female, 30% male Two self report questionnaires. METHODS Instrument developed by Hogan and DeSantis Two open-ended questions/ analyzed through content analysis. RESULTS No one reported help from the school See table to the right Factor Helped Hindered Self 30 16 Activities 27 _ Religion 3 Parents 31 Family Members 26 2 Other Relatives 19 Friends 34 Time 1 Social System Nothing/ no one 7 25

4 Cook-Cottone (2004) PTSD Diagnosing, Treatment, and School Reintegration Stats 25% of all children experience a traumatic event before they are 16 Of those exposed to trauma 30% will likely develop PTSD Diagnosing PTSD Symptoms- detachment or estrangement, exaggerated startle response, difficulty in concentration and task completion etc… Ex: Worst experience scale (8-18), Children’s PTSD inventory (7-18), Child rating scales/ cartoon images w/ response format (6-11) and many more Academic Implications Barnett(1997) suggested that abused, maltreated, or neglected children demonstrate lower scores on cognitive measures and less school achievement. Kolk (1996) trauma may interfere with left hemisphere functioning, implications in coherence to language and all functions related to.

5 Lenhardt and McCourt (2000)
Adolescent Unresolved Grief/Mothers Death Adolescents are a distinct group with specific needs which complicates the grieving process. Improper grieving can result in: Inability to grieve expressively Unable to resume relationships with significant others Risk for depression, physical illness, and increased risk of drug and alcohol abuse Results Adolescent Daughters more likely to experience unresolved grief and increased guilt Study proved stereotype of negative reaction to males who grieve openly Males are more likely to turn to alcohol and drugs because of these stereotypes and to self-medicate for their avoidance of pain (Jimmy) Surviving Fathers Support and lack of support by father can hinder sons and daughters Men take on instrumental roles Lack of opportunity to grieve can result in unresolved grief

6 CONCLUSION Relation to Jimmy Stewart Symptoms of PTSD
Unresponsive Family/little to no support Self-medicated through drugs Prevented with proper recognition and treatment Treatment of Adolescent Grief School counselor must assess the situation and help with proper counseling or therapy Short-term Support Group (cannot be conducted in a school setting) Establish norms with similar participants Share keepsakes identified with the deceased Opportunity to tell stories and receive info on death issues Concerns with final rights, special occasions, and etc… Closure celebration Non-group Coping Strategies CBT Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (needs more research) Family Intervention

7 REFERENCES Cook-Cottone, C. (2004) Lenhardt, A., & McCourt, B. (2000)
Childhood Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Diagnosis, Treatment, and School Reintegration. School Psychology Review, 33, Lenhardt, A., & McCourt, B. (2000) Adolescent Unresolved Grief In Response To The Death Of A Mother. Professional School Counseling, 3, Rask, K., Kaunonen, M., & Paunonen-Ilmonen, M. (2002) Adolescent coping with grief after the death of a loved one. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 8,

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