Graduation Year


Document Type

Senior Thesis


Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Primary Major


Primary Minor


Thesis Advisor

Patricia Harris PhD, RN, CNS


Losing a parent is one of the hardest losses we experience. For many, the loss of a parent comes too early. Losing a parent as a teenager has lasting effects. This thesis examines the research literature review and proposes a study for further investigation about this important healthcare matter.

The mental health of teenagers who lose a parent experience worsened mental health than those who have two living parents. Bereaved teenagers experience worsened mental health, increased aggression, and an increased risk for self-harm. The research in this literature reviews, supports this, and further emphasizes the negative impact of losing a parent on teenagers mental health. After losing a parent, there are many routes that a teenager can take to cope. There are different interventions and needs that are beneficial to the teenager. There are also needs that are not met, but had they been met, may have helped with the coping process. The research in the second half of the literature review looks at different needs and interventions that teenagers report would help them to cope. It also looks at what interventions were done that were helpful with the coping process. A qualitative study is proposed to explore young people's perceptions about feelings of grief after the loss of a parent, and their perceptions about which interventions may be most beneficial.

Overall, when a teenager loses a parent, it is important for the teenager to seek out help in order to improve their mental health. It is also important for other family members, such as the living parent, to understand some of the needs that these teenagers require to help improve their mental health after this traumatic experience.