Methodology Dissertation Conclusion Examples
Death is the end of a life and when a life ends, those left behind are naturally affected by it. The death of a loved one induces a reaction in every individual. What these reactions are and how an individual deals with the loss varies from individual to individual. If the departed individual is someone who was near and dear to the grieving individual, the loss is felt more acutely. In this paper we examined the impact of death of a parent on an adult individual. The feelings of the bereaved individuals and the psychological impact of death of a parent were examined through the lens of gender, age, and relationship to the deceased. The study was a quantitative research with three independent variables namely gender, age, and relationship and one dependent variable impact of loss. Impact of loss was used to measure the psychological impact of the death of a parent on an adult offspring. The criteria for selection of participants were as follows:
The research was conducted using survey monkey to recruit the subjects and collect data regarding the experiences of participants with respect to death of a parent. Secondary data in the form of books and journal articles on the topic was also used in the research. One hundred and twenty eight individuals participated in the study. The participation was voluntary and the selection tool used was surveymonkey.com. No reward financial or otherwise was offered for participation in the survey. The percentage ratio of participants was as under:
Percentage of Boys and Girls: 20% Boys and 80% Girls
Age Range: between 18 and 60 years.
Average Age: 45 with and SD of 3.99
The hypothesis was developed by reviewing the secondary research. The hypothesis developed on the basis of earlier research was that the factors that determine the psychological impact of death of a parent on an adult are age of the bereaved individual, the bereaved individual’s gender and the quality or intensity of relationship with the departed parent (Wijngaards-de, n.d.). That is to say that there exist differences in the psychological impact in individuals of different ages or different stages in life (Halifax 2008). There exist differences in psychological impact on individuals of different gender. According to Wijngaards-de, (n.d.), men and women react differently to death and the feeling experienced by men are different from those experienced by women. Also the ways in which feelings are expressed are different (Wijngaards-de, n.d.). Halifax (2008) opines that girls exhibit more behavioural problems as compared to boys on the death of a parent. And there exist differences in psychological impact on individuals depending on the type of relationship they shared with the deceased parent. According to Halifax (2008), the psychological wellbeing of an individual is affected on the death of parent depending on the relationship he shared with that parent.
The result of the survey shows that the depending on stage in life, adults showed varying degrees of maladjustments. Young adolescents showed greater anxiety as compared to older adults. Females presented higher levels of physical discomfort as compared to males. However males showed higher levels of depression as compared to females. Females sought companionship in their grief. This indicates that females seek social support in depression.
Results of the two-track questionnaire are as under:
Self-perception changed in 44.83% adults after bereavement.
20% of the survey group recalled scenes from the time of death on a daily basis.
20% adults recalled scenes from the death about once a week.
40% of the survey group reported thought and feelings about death.
75% of the group reported the loss as traumatic.
42.11% of the participants said that they perceive the loss as shocking and traumatic.
40% said that the loss is difficult.
31.58% of the participants said that the circumstances surrounding the loss were extremely difficult.
70% said that they were extremely close (true) to the deceased parent while 20% said that they were close to the deceased parent (mostly true).
38.46% of the survey group reported noticing things that remind them of the departed parent.
30.77% of the participants thought about the deceased parent all the time.
There was a general consensus that the participants missed the departed parent and yearned for him or her.
33.33% of the participants said that they definitely (true) feel pain when recalling the deceased parent and 33/33% said that they feel pain (mostly true) when recalling the departed parent.
These results indicate that post bereavement is impaired due to loss of a parent. The extent of impairment depends on the type of relationship to the parent.
Review of earlier literature shows that:
Young adults show greater signs of depression on loss of a parent (Moss et al, 2001)
Older adults are better able to accept the loss of a parent (Shaw, 2007).
Reaction to parent death depends on age, gender, marital status, and relationship shared (Umberson & Chen, 1994).
For young adults parent death affects both physical and mental health (Kivela et al, 1998).
Males and females react and deal differently with parental death (Stroebe, Stroebe, & Schut, 2001).
Continued attachment even after death is a part of healthy acceptance (Field & Bonanno, 2001)
Some individuals benefit from suppressing their emotions and distraction (Scharlach, 1991).
Men grieve instrumentally while women grieve intuitively (Moss, Resch & Moss, 1997 and Versalle & McDowell, 2005)
Women seek support in grief (Carroll & Schaefer, 1994 Willard & Irizarry, 1998 and Kavanaugh, 1997).
Females show higher levels of grief as compared to men (Goldbach et al, 1991, Bennett, 2007, and Sidmore, 2000).
Loss of a mother is associated with lower confidence and binging in daughters while death of father is associated with physiological illness and depression in sons (Heyjung & Song 2007).
Social norms and expected gender roles drive bereavement behaviour (Rosenblatt, 2001 and Eagly, Wood & Diekman 2000)
Some adults grieve more intensely than others (Kubitz, Thornton, and Robertson, 1989 in Lenhardt & McCourt, 2000)
Adults exhibiting low intensity symptoms are more likely to seek companionship in grief as compared to those exhibiting high intensity symptoms (Kubitz, Thornton, & Robertson, 1989 andAlshvang,, 2012).
Other researchers like Marks, Heyjung & Song (2007), Cumming, Olphin, & Law (2007) and Sue & Sue, (2003) opine that due to social norms, natural influence of parents on their children, and long association, reactions to parent death is strong in young adults particularly if the death is sudden. An argument against this finding is that in contemporary society when adults marry they separate from the parents and focus on their own family. This weakens the parent-child bond (Rubin & Yasien- Esmael 2004). Freud also proposed autonomy on separation from parents. Recent research argues that as longevity is high parents die when their children are adults. As such longer period of association strengthens the parent child bond.
Limitations of this Research
This research identified three drivers – age, gender, and relationship - of reaction to parental death. This finding is supported by earlier research as evidenced by the literature review. However there are certain limitations to this research. Firstly the three variables are considered independently of the circumstances surrounding the research. That is to say the circumstances in which the death of the parent occurred are not factored into the research. It is likely that sudden death may be more traumatic than death due to illness. If the illness is of long standing, the child has more time to prepare for the eventuality of death. Secondly the age of the deceased parent is a factor which must be taken into consideration. Death of older parents particularly above the age of 80 is an expected eventuality. The third factor that requires consideration is the support available for the child at the time of the parent’s death. Individuals who have a strong support system may be better able to bear the loss of a parent as compared to those who do not have a strong support system. Other factors like marital status, stage of life such as college going, working, engaged, separated, or having a significant other have not been considered. Living arrangements that is whether living with the parents or away, frequency of visits to parents and such other factors have been covered under relationship to the parent. Sex of the departed parent that is whether the individual lost a mother or father is also a factor that must be taken into consideration. Quantifying these factors and conducting a detailed research analysis may yield different results. Culture and ethnicity have also not been factored in this study. Some cultures encourage close relationships with parents while others encourage autonomy. Depending on the cultural background of the individual and the social and other norms prevalent in that culture, reactions to parent death may differ. This study is therefore a limited study examining three factors that affect reaction to parent death. Further research and documentation of other factors affecting reaction to parent death will throw more light on the subject.
Implications for Future Research
This study considered three hypothesis involving three factors that may affect the reactions of young adults to parent death. Further research covering several factors not covered in this study will throw more light on the way an individual reacts to parent death. Such research will help therapists treat individuals who seek intervention to deal with parent death.
In conclusion one may say that parent death affects each individual to a lesser or greater degree. This study examined three factors that affect individual reactions to parent death. These factors are by no means the only factors that impact the reactions of individuals. Further research on the subject is therefore required to properly determine the factors that affect individual reactions to parent death.