Adolescent Sibling Bereavement: An Ongoing Attachment


Adolescent Sibling Bereavement: An Ongoing Attachment


Hogan N; DeSantis L


Qualitative Health Research




sibling bereavement


A taxonomy of the adolescent sibling bereavement process was developed from the responses of 157 bereaved adolescents to the question "If you could ask or tell your dead sibling something, what would it be?" The taxonomy had six mutually exclusive categories: regretting, endeavoring to understand, catching up, reaffirming, influencing, and reuniting. Pervasive throughout the taxonomy was the theme of "ongoing attachment"; that is, the emotional and social bond with the deceased sibling remains continuous throughout the bereavement process. The notion of ongoing presence illustrates the timelessness of adolescent bereavement and the infiniteness of the sibling bond. The phenomena of "ongoing presence" and timelessness challenge current medical science conceptualizations of bereavement that postulate that grief is time bound and that healthy recovery depends on severance of emotional bonds with the deceased. Qualitative and quantitative studies are needed to develop a substantive theory of adolescent sibling bereavement that is developmentally appropriate, accounts for variability by cause of and circumstances surrounding the death, and is culturally relevant.


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Journal Article


Hogan N; DeSantis L, “Adolescent Sibling Bereavement: An Ongoing Attachment,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed December 9, 2023,