Children’s and young people’s sorrow and grief in family and close relationships

Main funder

Funder's project number: 332905

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 438 874,00

Funding program

Project timetable

Project start date: 01/09/2020

Project end date: 31/12/2020


Almost everyone experiences grief and sorrow at some phase of his or her life. For children and young people sorrow and grief are often related to family and close relationships and to disturbing events of various kinds in these relationships. More specifically, sorrow and grief can be caused by events such as the death or illness of a close one, the child’s own illness, parental divorce or the ending of a young person’s romantic relationship. The causes of sorrow and grief thus vary, as do individuals’ ways of coping with them.

This research project explores how children and young people experience and cope with sorrow and grief and how they are supported in these situations by their family members and society at large. A further aim is to investigate these experiences by age and gender and cross-cultural differences in these experiences. The proposed project combines interdisciplinary family research, child and family social work research, childhood and youth studies and the sociological study of emotions. The project will follow the principles of mixed methods. Quantitative survey data (N=1200) will be collected in Finland and in Spain from children and young people. Qualitative interview data (N=80) along with social network and grief map data (N=120) will be collected from children and young people, and group interview data from professionals (N=100) in Finland and Spain. The purpose of using multiple methods is to gain a thorough understanding of the difficult circumstances and delicate emotions children and young people experience in their lives.

The study aims to contribute important sociological understanding on children’s and adolescents’ experiences of grief and sorrow and how these emotions are processed and dealt with within the family. It will also yield important knowledge on the help and support systems that are available on the societal level. The project will thus benefit not only the scientific community but also, importantly and more broadly, the various professionals who work with children, young people and families in difficult life situations.

Principal Investigator

Primary responsible unit

Last updated on 2022-06-07 at 12:42