Bereavement Groups for Inner-City Children

Robert F. Schilling, Nina Koh, Robert Abramovitz, Louisa Gilbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Guided by theory, empirical research, and clinical experience, this demonstration tested a 12-session group intervention for 38 inner-city children who had lost a caregiver. The design of the group intervention was guided by the psychodynamic tradition of the sponsoring agency, themes from the bereavement literature, and findings from intervention research on bereaved children and adults. Attendance for the group intervention was high among those 29 children who completed posttests. The loss of the parent figure often had an impact on caregiving and living arrangements. Children rated themselves as significantly more depressed at pretest than their caregivers rated them, but at posttest this difference diminished. However, the majority of children remained depressed throughout the study. Pretest and posttest comparisons suggest that the treatment intervention may have enabled children to develop a more mature concept of death. Mixed outcomes and the methodological limitations of the study allow for multiple interpretations. Nevertheless, modest results reported here may encourage other clinical researchers to build on this early effort. Better understanding of how to treat bereaved children must await controlled, longitudinal research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-419
Number of pages15
JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1992
Externally publishedYes


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