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

Main funder

Funder's project number: 336141

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 48 440,00

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 their 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. However, children may have only limited opportunities or no social space and time to express their grief and sorrow, which consequently are suppressed. Existing research has mainly focused on adult experiences of grief and sorrow, and has largely neglected the experiences of children and young people. To support children and young people in an all-encompassing manner, the need remains for these experiences to be investigated and understood more fully.

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 cross-cultural similarities and 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. Quantitative survey data (N=1 200) 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=160) will be collected from children and young people and group interviews from professionals (N=100) working with children and young people in Finland and in Spain. A novel method, a grief map, will be developed and utilized in the study. The aim of the project
is to gain a thorough understanding of the difficult circumstances and delicate emotions children and young people experience in their lives. The study thus seeks to enhance the well-being of children and young people in adverse life situations and to understand these experiences on a cross-cultural level. The study will benefit the scientific community and also 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 12:43