Both bereavement and thwarted belongingness serve as risk markers for youth suicide-related behaviors. This study examined candidate predictors of thwarted belongingness among bereaved youth, including caregiver cause of death and surviving caregiver coping style. A group of 43 caregiver-bereaved families (58 children aged 7–13-years-old) participated in a longitudinal study investigating associations between hypothesized bereavement-related contextual factors and youth thwarted belongingness. Cause of caregiver deaths included anticipated deaths preceded by illness (37%; n = 16), sudden natural deaths (25.6%; n = 11), accidental deaths (20.9%; n = 9), death by suicide (9.3%; n = 4), and death from drug overdose (7.0%; n = 3). Children’s thwarted belongingness was significantly higher among youth bereaved by suicide compared to youth bereaved by sudden natural death, accident, and anticipated death by illness. Surviving caregivers’ use of behavioral disengagement and positive reinterpretation and growth as coping strategies at Time 1 predicted lower thwarted belongingness in children at Time 2. Implications for risk screening and assessment of suicide risk among bereaved youth are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health