It is hard to imagine a more devastating event in a youth’s life than the loss of a loved one. Many youth experience guilt, thinking that they might have caused the death; or they may experience behavioral problems, social withdrawal, concerns about the well-being of their loved ones, fears of abandonment, and increased somatic complaints. Such reactions can lead to poor academic, intrapersonal, and interpersonal functioning. The burden of childhood loss can be a personal cost paid over decades: among adults who experienced childhood loss, most admitted that it was the life experience most difficult to cope with, and one-third of these respondents reported that they have never fully recovered.1
The experience of loss is prevalent; approximately 1 in 20 children have lost a parent or sibling before age 16.2 Other findings reveal that prior to reaching adulthood, a majority of youth will experience the death of an important person in their lives.3 School psychologists are in a unique position to both identify and work with youth experiencing grief and loss, as well as consulting with schools and families on approaches to help such youth.
This Special Topic Section of School Psychology Quarterly will be devoted to the publication of reviews and empirically-based papers focus on issues faced by children who experience loss. The special section will be edited by David J. Schonfeld and Thomas Demaria, and is slated to appear in the first issue of 2019.
We are particularly interested in receiving empirical studies on the nature and correlates associated with grief and loss, as well as novel methods and programs when working with children and/or school personnel, many of whom may be reluctant to approach grieving youth for fear of increasing their distress.
Examples of appropriate manuscripts include (but are not limited to):
- Empirical reviews of the nature and correlates of grief/loss and its impact on psychosocial and academic outcomes
- Development or evaluation (i.e., feasibility, acceptability, outcomes) of approaches, interventions or programs that can be applied in schools
- Research relevant to the training of school psychologists and/or educators
Manuscript length for the special section will be determined based on the quality and number of proposals, but is targeted to not exceed the journal standard of 6,000 words, inclusive of all tables, figures, and references. Submitted manuscripts will be given blind peer review, as per usual journal policy, prior to a final decision on publication.
Manuscripts should be submitted electronically through the journal’s electronic submission portal (http://www.editorialmanager.com/spq).
1 Koblenz, J. (2016). Growing from grief: Qualitative experiences of parental loss. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 73, 203-230.
2 Schonfeld, D. J., & Demaria, T. (2016). Supporting the grieving child and family. Pediatrics, 138, e2-e12.
3 Piper, W. E., Ogrodniczuk, J. S., Joyce, A. S., & Weideman, R. (2011). Prevalence of complicated grief. In W. E. Piper, J. S. Ogrodniczuk, A. S. Joyce, and R. Weideman (Eds.), Short-term group therapies for complicated grief: Two research-based models (pp. 51-62). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.