New Zealand research will explore experiences of families coping with death

A new research project undertaken by Victoria University’s School of Psychology, New Zealand will explore experiences of families coping with death.

The project, which builds on a study undertaken in 2003 looking at children’s experiences of death and loss, will include interviews with family members who have lost a close family member through death at least one year ago.

“I am hoping to interview both a child and one or both parents/caregivers from each participating family in order to gain an understanding of how each family is coping and adapting,” masters student Lucy Reynolds said.

“The child will need to be between the ages of 8 and 15 years. A gift of $25 will be given to each participating family as a token of my gratitude and to thank them for their contribution to this research.”

Ms Reynolds, who is a mature student and has previous experience working with children and adults, said the research had three key aims. The first aim is to expand understanding of the factors and attributes that enable families to withstand and adapt to the challenges death of a close family member. Another is to explore changes that occur as a result of experiencing loss through death. The third aim is to be able to inform professionals supporting families on how to build resilience that can help families cope with a loss of this nature.

“It is important to learn from families themselves how best to help them when they face the death of a close family member,” she said.

People interested in participating in the research should contact Ms Reynolds on 025 964 103, or at [email protected], or by contacting her research supervisor Associate Professor Jan Pryor, Victoria University of Wellington on (04) 463-7428.

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