Capstone/Dissertation Title

Elementary school children's reactions to parental suicide and educators' preparedness to support them adequately

Term

2011

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAT

Abstract

This capstone addresses the questions, How do elementary school children respond to parental suicide? and What are educators' perspectives on suicide, knowledge of childhood grief, and levels of preparedness to support young children who are grieving the suicide of a parent? The motivating factor for this study was the suicide of the author's mother and her desire to support children who have lost a parent to suicide. Through works by researchers, such as Shneidman, Pfeffer, and Cerel, the author learned about the area of study and compiled an extensive literature review. Conducting a teacher survey and interviews with educators and experts in the field, the author concludes that educators' preparedness and abilities to support grieving children is insufficient. The author proposes the implementation of teacher trainings about death, grief, and suicide and providing death education for children to raise awareness and eliminate stereotypes and misconceptions about death, suicide, and grief.

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