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Keywords:

  • Child bereavement;
  • adolescent bereavement;
  • grief;
  • parental death;
  • murder;
  • suicide;
  • research

Psychological outcomes in children who have experienced the death of a parent are heterogeneous. One child in five is likely to develop psychiatric disorder. In the year following bereavement, children commonly display grief, distress, and dysphoria. Nonspecific emotional and behavioural difficulties among children are often reported by surviving parents and the bereaved children themselves. The highest rates of reported difficulties are found in boys. This review identifies the moderating and mediating variables that lead to some children being more vulnerable to disturbance than others following parental death. Limitations and gaps in the recent bereavement literature are identified. Theoretical and methodological advances that are necessary for a coherent account of childhood bereavement are outlined.