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CHILDHOOD BEREAVEMENT AND PEER SUPPORT: EPIDEMIOLOGY, IDENTIFICATION OF EVALUATION CONSTRUCTS, AND THE PROMOTION OF RESILIENCE

Hulsey, Eric G (2008) CHILDHOOD BEREAVEMENT AND PEER SUPPORT: EPIDEMIOLOGY, IDENTIFICATION OF EVALUATION CONSTRUCTS, AND THE PROMOTION OF RESILIENCE. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The death of a close family member is a profound insult to a child's developmental course. Though early research assumed that childhood bereavement was a risk factor for mental and behavioral disorders in childhood and adult life, recent research has taken an ecological view of childhood development and considers a child's exposures to risk and protective factors. Yet, it remains unclear as to how many children are affected by the death of a close family member each year and how peer support groups can help children to adapt to such an adverse event. This dissertation represents three distinct stages in the development of a comprehensive evaluation for an agency that provides a peer support service for bereaved children and their families. First, a primary question that arose during initial consultations with the agency was to determine how many children are affected annually within Pennsylvania. This led to an exploration of the epidemiology of childhood bereavement. The methods and data sources used to produce these estimates were critically evaluated and modified to offer a new interpretation of available data. Second, it was important to identify constructs that could be used in an outcomes evaluation of the peer support program. Focus groups were used to explore the perceived benefits of attending peer support groups among caregivers and teens who had attended a spring session at the center. The intention to use focus groups was to increase the validity of constructs and, ultimately, the results of an outcomes evaluation.Third, after identifying evaluation constructs a feasibility study was conducted to pilot an outcomes evaluation instrument. The study involved 30 families who attended the spring 2007 sessions at the center. Results suggested that peer support programs can improve children's coping efficacy while helping to improve their caregivers' perception of social support. The program also improved both children and caregivers' sense that they are not alone in their grief.As demonstrated in this dissertation, including the loss of siblings and primary caregiving grandparents in prevalence estimates of childhood bereavement and applying resilience theory to peer support research is of public health relevance.


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Details

Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Hulsey, Eric Geric.hulsey@gmail.com
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRicci, Edmund Memricci@pitt.eduEMRICCI
Committee MemberAbatemarco, Diane Jdja17@pitt.eduDJA17
Committee MemberCatov, Janetjmcst43@pitt.eduJMCST43
Committee MemberBurke, Jessica Gjgburke@pitt.eduJGBURKE
Date: 25 June 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 6 March 2008
Approval Date: 25 June 2008
Submission Date: 5 April 2008
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: DrPH - Doctor of Public Health
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: ; childhood bereavement; peer support; program evaluation; resilience
Other ID: http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-04052008-145515/, etd-04052008-145515
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:34
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:38
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/6772

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