Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Veale, Angela
Irish Journal of Psychology
Longitudinal evaluation of a therapeutic groupwork intervention with suicide bereaved children
Optional Fields
Children Suicide Suicide-bereaved Intervention Psychotherapy
Empirical evidence indicates that parental suicide during childhood is a risk factor for mental health difficulties and even suicide, highlighting a need for efficacy-based interventions for suicide-bereaved children. This study presents a child-centred longitudinal evaluation of a group work intervention for suicide-bereaved children aged 8?12 years. Five children aged 8?12 years participated in the intervention. The Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) measured emotional and behavioural problems and social competence. A function assessment method was adapted to explore the impact of bereavement through suicide on children's functioning, while the study also used semi-structured interviews and a social network and strength of relationships method. The study found that four-fifths of children scored within the clinical range for internalising and externalising problems pre-intervention while social competency was within a normative range. Six months post-intervention, symptomatology had decreased substantially. Four years on, some participants had taken leadership roles in their schools on suicide-prevention initiatives. Children's qualitative reports highlighted that participation in group work enhanced connectedness, emotional expression, family communication processes, memory and sense-making, and processes associated with active coping in suicide-bereaved children. Reflecting on the methodology a small sample size and the lack of a control group were key limitations. However, it is a unique study in the Irish context. In conclusion, group work appears able to address isolation, stigma and communication challenges with suicide-bereaved children and highlights the contribution of peer support.
Grant Details