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ABSTRACT

This study reports the effects of sibling death on 33 adolescents from white, middle- to upper-middle income families. Contact was made through mutual support groups for bereaved parents. A focused interview was used to gather data on bereavement reactions and on self-concept. Bereavement reactions investigated included kinds of emotional responses, effects on sleeping and eating, frequency of thoughts about the deceased sibling, effects on school work, means of dealing with the death and interpersonal relationships. Self-concept perceptions investigated were perceptions of personal maturity, lessons learned from the death and the importance of religious beliefs. Eleven further measures of self-concept were obtained by means of the “Offer Self-Image Questionnaire for Adolescents.” By grouping responses into two time frames (before or a few weeks after the death and at the time of the interview), significant differences in reactions and perceptions were found among the participants.