Date of Award

Spring 1993

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Policy and Leadership

First Advisor

Zaffrann, R. T.

Second Advisor

Heiden, J. M.

Third Advisor

Nordberg, R. B.


The clinical setting presented the researcher with examples of bereaved parents/grandparents responding to the surviving bereaved grandchildren in a variety of ways following the death of the adult child/parent. Some bereaved parents took their grandchildren into their homes; other grandparents lost contact with their grandchildren either by their own choice or that of the surviving spouse; other grandparent/grandchild relationships appeared to remain unchanged. Because of the devastating impact the loss of an adult child/parent has on the older parent/grandparent and the surviving child/grandchild, two generations of a family are at risk upon the death of the linking generation. The purpose of this study is to identify and describe patterns of adaptation to loss for filially bereaved grandparents focusing on the adaptation to loss of older parents in their roles as grandparents using both an individual and a famiial [sic] theoretical framework. Four filially bereaved grandparent couples who lost an adult child between the ages of 26 and 36, with surviving children/grandchildren between the ages of 3 and 8 at the time of the death, volunteered to be interviewed 3 to 21 years following the loss.



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