Stikkelbroek, Yvonne et al. in their article published in March 2015, about the mental health of adolescents attempt to find out the effects of the death of sibling and parents. The research to look into the health conditions because of the raising concerns from parents, teachers and other stakeholders in the society. The research hypotheses adolescents who experience family bereavement have higher mental issues than non-bereaved counterparts. The chief mental problems identified were internalizing and externalizing. The article gives some good points on the issue, but it fails to fully convince a reader because it fails to consider some factors that have a lot of effect on post death.
Stikkelbroek, Yvonne et al. used a sample population of 2230 respondents. It was discovered that adolescents who experienced bereavement of a family member were affected more by a mental problem. The mental issues identified were internalizing and externalizing. It was found that the internalizing problem was around four times to bereaved family youths than their peers who were not affected. The research also showed that most children who develop the internalizing problem after family bereavement had no such problems earlier. The increase in the mental problem post bereavement was attributed to the effect of the loss. The level of internalizing varied among the adolescents depending on the family member lost. It was higher to those who lost siblings than those who lost one of the parents. The difference in the level of internalizing was associated with the survivor guilty feeling. Also, parents contribute to the higher internalizing on death of a sibling because of the psychological distress they develop. The social and economic difficulties experienced after death also contribute to internalization problems experienced by most youths. Females had a more significant number of individuals who develop internalization problem after death as compared to males. The research results do not have any prove that externalization problems increased after bereavement. The externalization problem was discovered to have no significant change with children aged between 0 to 19 years who have been affected by bereavement recording lower cases of externalities such as taking alcohol and other drugs. The lower externalities contrary to hypotheses were because the bereaved children appreciated life more and took responsibility than their counterparts.
Family functioning remained the same for the bereaved families and the non-bereaved ones. There was no significant change in the pre and post death on the internalization and externalization problems in among the families. The main reason for the household functioning remaining the same was the fact that the illness of a family member ma affects the mental illness of even before death. The effect was found to remain the same even after death.
The bereavement of family members affects the mental health of adolescents mentally because of the worry left behind. The research work did well to establish the same. The typical life of most young people tends to change post death of a family member, and they lose their social nature. They assume a thinking character, and they become anti-social and grow quiet. As per the research, the issue is a mental sickness because it is difficult for parent and teacher to help them back to their normal life before the death occurred. The sample population gave a sufficient number of respondents who would provide an acceptable outcome on the mental status post and pre-bereavement of a family member. On the level of the effect upon the death of a parent and siblings, the researcher did a good job in identifying the difference in the effect. The results reflected the expected effect on adolescents because of their connection with siblings and parents. Parents act as providers to their children, and they tend to have less contact with their adolescents. Unlike parents, siblings are close associates to their peers in the family and their death cuts short the close connection.
However, Stikkelbroek, Yvonne et al. work fail to convince a reader by the effect of death on the cause of death. The factor leading to death is expected to have a high impact on the mental status of the bereavement. For examples, a death of a family member who has been suffering in sickness for a long time may not have the same impact as for one who died out of the accident. A death of a sick family member who was suffering in pain for a long time may be seen as a relief to them, and their death may be acceptable. Internalization problem that was seen among the family members may reduce after death. On the other hand, the effect of the death of an active family member who was health and contributed a lot to the economic status of the family may have a high level of internalization problem that is prolonged. The research should have considered the effect of the cause of death to be more convincing.
The effect of the cause may have a lot of influence in the mental status of the bereaved adolescents, and its omission forms a weakness on the overall results given. However Stikkelbroek, Yvonne et al. work form a good base for future research on the topic. The highlighting of the post-death effects on adolescents seems convincing and is helpful in the looking for a solution of the problem in future.
Stikkelbroek, Yvonne et al. "Mental Health Of Adolescents Before And After The Death Of A Parent Or Sibling". European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, vol 25, no. 1, 2015, pp. 49-59. Springer Nature, doi:10.1007/s 00787-015-0695-3.
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