When a parent dies it impacts the lives of the surviving children and partner. Previous research has shown that children who have lost a parent have an increased risk of ill health. The loss also means a major adjustment for the remaining parent, with increased demands and risk of ill health. Maintaining conversations and routines as a family can influence how the circumstances and the health of the surviving family members develop. The possibilities for bereaved families with children to receive support in Sweden have been limited, which is the reason for this study being conducted.
The aim of the study is to investigate communication, psychological health and grief after the loss of a parent/partner in families with children, and to develop and evaluate a supportive family intervention for these families.
Families with children living in Stockholm who have lost a parent/partner as a result of cancer in the years 2013-2015 were invited to participate in the study. They were also invited to participate in the family intervention that has been developed.
We have found that communication in the family is affected by the family's grief, and that the psychological health of children and young people seems to be associated with the quality of communication between the surviving parent and the child or young person. The support program "The Grief and Communication Family Support Intervention", which has been developed as part of the project, has shown that family communication and relationships in the family improve after participation in the support program.
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