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  • Childrens Encounters With Death, Bereavement, and Coping

  • Charles A. Corr, PhD, CT, is a Professor Emeritus at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counsel-ing (1978present; Board of Directors, 19801983); the International Work Group on Death, Dying, and Bereavement (1979present; chairperson, 19891993); the ChiPPS (Childrens Project on Palliative/Hospice Services) Leadership Advisory Council of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (1998present); the Board of Directors of the Suncoast Institute, an affi liate of the Suncoast Hos-pice (2000present); and the Executive Committee of the National Donor Family Council of the National Kidney Foundation (19922001, 2006present). Dr. Corrs publications include more than 30 books and booklets, together with more than 100 chapters and articles in professional journals, on subjects such as death education, death-related issues involving children and adolescents, hospice principles and prac-tice, and organ and tissue donation. His most recent books are the sixth edition of Death and Dying, Life and Living (2009), coauthored with Clyde M. Nabe and Donna M. Corr, and Adolescent Encounters With Death, Bereavement, and Coping (Springer Publishing, 2009), coedited with David E. Balk.

    David E. Balk, PhD, FT, is a Professor in the Department of Health and Nutrition Sci-ences at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, where he directs graduate studies in thanatology. He is an Associate Editor of Death Studies and serves as that journals Book Review Editor. His work in thanatology has focused primarily on adolescent bereavement. He is the author of Adolescent Development: Early Through Late Adolescence (1995), and with Carol Wogrin, Gordon Thornton, and David Meagher, he edited Handbook of Thanatology: The Essential Body of Knowledge for the Study of Death, Dying, and Bereavement (2007). With Charles Corr, he coedited Handbook of Adolescent Death and Bereavement (Springer Pub-lishing, 1996) and Adolescent Encounters With Death, Bereavement, and Coping (Springer Publishing, 2009). Dr. Balk serves on the Mental Health Advisory Board for National Students of AMF, a program begun by bereaved college students to assist one another.

  • Childrens Encounters With Death, Bereavement, and Coping



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    E-book ISBN: 978-0-8261-3423-309 10 11 12/ 5 4 3 2 1

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    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataChildrens encounters with death, bereavement, and coping / Charles A. Corr, David E. Balk, editors. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-8261-3422-6 (alk. paper) 1. Children and death. 2. Grief in children. 3. Bereavement in children. 4. Adjustment (Psychology) in children. I. Corr, Charles A. II. Balk, David E., 1943 BF723.D3C555 2009 155.9'37083dc22 2009037535

    Printed in the United States of America by Hamilton Printing.

  • This book is dedicated toDr. Richard J. Blackwell,teacher, scholar, mentor,

    and long-time family friend,with respect, admiration, and gratitude

    And toJanet Renee Balk,

    My daughter, my child,Whose joy for life,

    Sense of humor, steadfast loyalty,Desire for social justice,

    Courage in the face of wrong,And loving heart

    Fill her parents with pride and admiration

  • vii

    Contributors xvForeword xixPreface xxiii


    1 Children, Development, and Encounters With Death, Bereavement, and Coping 3Charles A. Corr

    Childhood Development 4Encounters With Death During Childhood 9Encounters With Bereavement During Childhood 13Conclusion 18

    2 Childrens Emerging Awareness and Understandings of Loss and Death 21Charles A. Corr

    Early Inklings 22Direct Encounters With Loss and Death During Childhood 24Understanding Death: Developmental Stages 25Staging Children and Their Understandings of Death

    Is Not Desirable 27Thinking About Death Is a Complex Matter 29Listen to the Individual Child 32Some Guidelines for Helping Children Cope With Their

    Emerging Awareness and Understandings of Death 34


  • viii Contents

    3 Ethical Issues in Counseling Bereaved and Seriously Ill Children 39Heather L. Servaty-Seib and Sara J. Tedrick

    Professional Competence 40Autonomy, Informed Consent, and Child Assent 46Confi dentiality 50Touch 55Conclusion 55

    4 Ethics, Research, and Dying or Bereaved Children 61Andrea C. Walker

    Children in Research 62Ethical Issues in Research 64Design Issues in Research 70Conclusions and Recommendations for Research 74


    5 Infant Deaths 83Beth A. Seyda and Ann M. Fitzsimons

    Infant Death Defi ned 84Infant Deaths and Death Rates in the United States 84Leading Causes of Infant Death 84Trends in Infant Mortality 86Efforts to Prevent or Mitigate Infant Deaths 89Impact of Infant Deaths on the Family 91Grief and Bereavement Support After an Infant Death 95Conclusion 102Additional Resources for Health Care Professionals

    and/or Patient/Family 103

    6 Children, Unintentional Injuries, and Homicide 109Edith Crumb and Amy Griffi th Taylor

    Unintentional Deaths: Epidemiology and Types 109Unintentional Injury Prevention Summary 115Homicide 115Conclusion 126

  • Contents ix

    7 Children and Infectious Diseases 131Craig Demmer

    Burden on Children in Developing Countries 132Main Types of Infectious Diseases Causing Child Deaths 133Lack of Research on Bereavement Associated With

    Infectious Disease Deaths in Children 139Conclusion 143

    8 Children Living With Life-Threatening or Life-Limiting Illnesses: A Dispatch From the Front Lines 147Michael M. Stevens, Rhondda J. Rytmeister, Marie-Thrse Proctor, and Patricia Bolster

    The Walking Wounded: Families of Seriously Ill Children 148Awareness of Death in Well Children 153Awareness of Death in Seriously Ill and Dying Children 154The Sick Childs World 156Looking to the Ill Childs Spiritual Welfare 160Childrens Funerals and Beyond: We Will Remember Them 162Coping With Recovery: Refl ections From Long-Term Survivors 163The Temperament of Families 164Caring for Oneself and for Ones Colleagues: Tours of Duty 165


    9 Children Bereaved by the Death of a Parent 169Grace H. Christ

    Impact of Developmental Level on Childrens Manifestations of Grief 170

    Type of Death: Anticipated Versus Traumatic Loss 175Factors That Impede or Facilitate Reconstitution Over Time 180Issues Regarding Development and Implementation

    of Interventions 186Conclusion 190

    10 Sibling Bereavement in Childhood 195Katrina Koehler

    The Sibling Relationship 196A Roller Coaster of Emotions 197Other Common Grief Reactions of Sibling-Bereaved Children 208

  • x Contents

    Over Time Childrens Grief Can Stretch Out, Intensify, or Come in Waves 211

    Factors That Can Complicate Childrens Grief Responses to Sibling Bereavement 212

    Conclusion 217

    11 Death of a Friend During Childhood 219Diane Snyder Cowan

    On Friendship 220Friendship Quality 221Death of a Friend 222Disenfranchised Grief and Secondary Losses 226The Role of the School 228The Funeral 232What Can Help 232Conclusion 235

    12 Childrens Bereavement Over the Deaths of Pets 237Tamina Toray

    Experiencing Pets Outside of the Home 238Pets Infl uences on the Lives of Children 239Pets and Physical Health 239Death of a Pet and Childrens Grief 240Explaining Pet Sickness and Death to Children 242Attachment and Loss: Two Ends of the Spectrum 243Pets as Members of Childrens Second Family 244Children With Special Needs 244The Traumatic or Sudden Death of a Family Pet 245Terminal Illness and Family-Present Euthanasia 246After-Death Rituals and Commemorating a Pets Life 248Body Care Options 249Should We Get Another Pet? 250Supporting Childrens Grief 250Conclusion 254

    13 Children and Traumatic Deaths 257Donna L. Schuurman and Jana De