Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Education and Human Services


Family and Child Studies

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Olena Nesteruk

Committee Member

Lyndal Khaw

Committee Member

Jennifer Costa


The purpose of this qualitative study is to provide an early exploration of the reflections of young adults on the experiences of parental loss in adolescence. This study aims to understand what the impact of relationships with immediate family, extended family, and peers have on bereaved young adults, and how these relationships changed after the death of their parent. Qualitative methods were used to explore this area of research. Eleven participants were recruited through snowball sampling and personal connections, from Montreal and New Jersey. Using a phenomenological design, the participants were asked 14 in-depth questions using prompts and follow up questions for each. Interviews were transcribed, coded and analyzed for common themes. Four themes emerged from the data analysis: a) Pileup of stressors aggravate grieving; b) Benefits of social support; c) Coping strategies used by the participants; d) Adaptation to the loss of a parent: personal growth/maturation. Implications for future research and practitioners working with this population are considered.

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