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Coping with child death: A review of the literature

13 December 1999


Child death affects parents in many ways, including increased marital discord, increased incidence of clinically diagnosable psychiatric disorders, increased vulnerability to future medical problems and increased likelihood of the replacement child phenomenon. This thesis reviews the literature on child death as it relates to parents' responses to child death, their personal conceptualization of the death, and the various coping strategies they employ in the face of child death. Taken together, the literature on child death suggests that this type of loss places great strain on the marital relationship. Further research is recommended to clarify some contradictions in the literature and to better elucidate coping strategies that parents employ to deal with the loss.


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