The Ripples of Death : Exploring the Bereavement Experiences and Mental Health of Young Men in Custody

Vaswani, Nina (2014) The Ripples of Death : Exploring the Bereavement Experiences and Mental Health of Young Men in Custody. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

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Bereavement is an inevitable part of life and predictably forms a common childhood experience, with the bereavement rate among UK children estimated to be between 43% (Highet and Jamieson, 2007) and 78% (Harrison and Harrington, 2001). Previous research indicates that young people involved in offending are more likely to experience multiple, traumatic or parental bereavements than the general adolescent population (Vaswani, 2008). In turn, traumatic and multiple bereavements are linked with a significantly increased risk of depression; and comorbidity (Dowdney, 2000); as well as negative outcomes in relation to education; self-esteem and risk-taking behaviour (Ribbens McCarthy, 2005). As such, issues around grief and loss may further disadvantage an already vulnerable group in terms of outcomes and mental health. In order to further understanding of bereavement issues in a Scottish youth justice population, 33 young men in prison were surveyed to identify the extent and nature of their bereavements among family, friends and other relationships identified as important to them. In-depth interviews were undertaken with a subset of 11 young men in order to document bereavement experiences from their own perspective (Vaswani, 2014).