Three perspectives on mental health problems of young adults and their parents at a 15-year follow-up of the family bereavement program

Irwin Sandler, Heather Gunn, Gina Mazza, Jenn-Yun Tein, Sharlene Wolchik, Hanjoe Kim, Tim Ayers, Michele Porter

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Scopus citations


Objective: Effects are reported of the Family Bereavement Program (FBP) on the mental health of bereaved youth and their surviving parent 15 years following the program. Method: On-hundred and 56 families (244 children ages 8-16; 54% male; 67% Non-Hispanic White) were randomly assigned to receive either the FBP (N=90) or a literature control condition (N=66). At the 15-year follow-up 80% of the youth and 76% of the bereaved parents were reinterviewed. Mental health problems and service use were self-reported by young adults and their parents. Key informants reported on mental health problems of young adults. Results: Young adults in the FBP reported significantly less use of mental health services and of psychiatric medication than controls. Key informants reported significantly lower mental health problems for young adults who were in FBP as compared with controls and for those who were younger lower internalizing and externalizing problems for those in the FBP as compared with controls. Bereaved parents reported a significantly lower rate of alcoholism and less use of support groups than controls. Conclusions: The results provided evidence that FBP led to lower mental health problems and less service use by bereaved young adults and their parents as compared with controls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-855
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2018



  • Bereaved children
  • Bereaved parents
  • Randomized trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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