Child and adolescent bereavement and bodily awareness

(2010 – 2011)

This project was conducted by the Grief Support Section, which at the time was located within the Center for Health Promotion, Akershus University Hospital. We wanted to examine and evaluate how bodily responses could be described in children (5-7 years of age) and adolescents (15-17 years of age). Each of the children and adolescents had participated in a grief support group after a parent’s death. The adolescents were interviewed individually regarding their bodily experiences while they went through exercises relating to breathing, muscular tension and bodily awareness along with the interviews. They discovered how the body reacts in different ways and this gave them a better understanding of themselves, as well as new ideas about adaptations and changes they could make to help them live a better life.

The children completed some motor challenges, and their parents were interviewed individually afterwards on the basis of reflections they had on their child’s grief and bodily reactions. Parents expressed limited understanding and ability to be empathetic when it came to their children’s reactions and experiences surrounding grief, also when it came to their own grief. From theoretical knowledge, we know that it is important for one to be able to recognize and feel their own bodily reactions to grief and have these acknowledged. This is true for both children and adolescents, as well as their parents.


Contact information

– Project leader: Kari Elisabeth Bugge, NSF