Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology


This study examined the impact of parental death by homicide or suicide on child survivors. Two groups representing grieving children who experienced a parental death by homicide or suicide (N = 19) and children who experienced a natural or accidental parental death (N = 19) were compared. Children in the two groups were matched for age and gender. Scores from a screening instrument, developed by William Worden (1996) to identify grieving children at risk for emotional and behavioral difficulties, were used to compare these groups. No significant differences were found between the two groups for the total screener score and five of six predictor variables. One predictor variable, depression of the surviving parent, was an exception to this pattern. Surviving parents in the homicide/suicide group reported significantly higher levels of depression than did those in the natural/accidental group. These findings and possibilities for future research are discussed.

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