Author(s): Burns EA, House JD, Ankenbauer MR
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Abstract Much of the literature that exists regarding psychologic outcomes of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) has focused on parental grief or family response; at least two studies suggest that a SIDS death also affected siblings. It is believed that children who experience the death of a sibling due to SIDS do grieve. Factors related to bereavement are the child's age at the time of the sibling's death, special circumstances of the SIDS death, and explanations and grieving response of the parents. However, no information currently exists that characterizes the course of the grief response of these children. Studies have indicated that about 1 year is a normal grieving period for adults. This study was conducted to evaluate the time frame of children's grief response to the death of a sibling from SIDS. A questionnaire was designed that incorporated child grieving behaviors from several sources; 151 questionnaires were distributed to families in which a SIDS death had occurred in the past 16 years in Iowa and Illinois. Information was obtained from 43 families for 50 children who were older than 2 years of age at the time of the sibling's death. With respect to the length of children's grief response, 54\% were reported to have grieved longer than 1 year and only 40\% were reported to have grieved less than 6 months. Thus, it appears that the length of the grieving response for these children is similar to that described for adults.
This article was published in Pediatrics
and referenced in Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine