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An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Siblings Bereaved by Sudden Death in Adolescence

I am currently in Year Seven of the Doctorate in Counselling Psychology Course (DCPsych) at Metanoia Institute.

I am looking to recruit young adult participants (18-25) who have lost a sibling to sudden death (accident, homicide or suicide).

Participants need to meet specific criteria:

(1) two years has elapsed since their loss;

(2) participants are at least 18 but up to 25 (but were 12-19 at the time of their loss);

(3) have had previous counselling or therapy such as psychotherapy following their siblings death and

(4) are not considered to be a vulnerable adult.

My review of current literature suggests that the death of a sibling may be just as great as losing a parent (Paris et al., 2005). Siblings may spend up to 80 percent of their life together, share life worlds and families of origin (Packman et al., 2006). Losing a sibling during adolescence may be especially hard to endure (Hogan & DeSantis, 1994). Research also suggests adolescents experience loss differently to adults and children (Robin & Omar, 2014; Sood et al., 2006). It is a time when developmental milestones are reached (Packman et al, 2006); these may be different depending on early, middle or late adolescence (Robin & Omar, 2014). Where the loss is sudden, for example, by accidental death, homicide or suicide, it may leave no time to say goodbye (Horsley & Patterson, 2006). This may interrupt the developmental process, particularly identity formation. Support from family and peers may be important to this process (Horsley & Patterson, 2006). Whilst current literature on losing a child is well documented, research on losing a sibling particularly during adolescence is sparse (Davidson, 2018). Furthermore, where research has been undertaken, it has either related to sibling death generally, included all children or has not specified the type of death. Indeed, many existing research studies were undertaken in the 1980’s/early 1990’s or look at sibling death through chronic illness (Forward & Garlie, 2003). Very few studies look specifically at sudden sibling death in adolescence. I hope to address this gap through my research.

My research has been approved by Metanoia/ Middlesex University Ethics Committee (see attached documents) and I have given very careful consideration to participant’s safety.

Given the nature of my research, I am carrying out a pre-interview questionnaire to ensure participants are not suffering from prolonged grief (ICD 11: WHO, 2019).

To date I have advertised through ‘gatekeepers’ rather than directly on Facebook, for example.

I have managed to recruit five participants through bereavement charities but ideally would like a few more. I can be contacted by email at zara.wolfenden@metanoia.ac.uk or by phone (07899 943104).

Should you need to speak to my supervisor her contact details are: Dr Maxine Daniels at maxine.daniels@metanoia.ac.uk'