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June 2017

Consequences of Sibling Death: Problematic, Potentially Predictable, and Poorly Managed

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • 2Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • 3Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
JAMA Pediatr. 2017;171(6):519-520. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.0330

The death of a loved one is a traumatic life event associated with increased mortality and poor health. Although studies have examined the association among bereavement, mental disorder outcomes, and elevated risk for mortality in spouses, parents, and offspring,1-5 sibling bereavement is less studied. Coined “forgotten grievers,”6(p338) bereaved siblings experience the long-term effect of bereavement on their health and social environments. This is especially true when sibling bereavement occurs during the formative childhood years. Understanding the health and mortality risks associated with sibling bereavement is an important research area and essential component in the development of interventions designed at promoting the health and well-being of individuals who have experienced the death of a sibling.

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