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Parental Loss During Childhood and Outcomes on Adolescents’ Psychological Profiles: A Longitudinal Study

Abstract

The loss of a parent during childhood is a traumatic experience that can bring about several difficulties in adaptation and psychopathological problems over time during the child’s development. The present study assesses the psychological functioning of a sample of non-referred pre-adolescents and adolescents and considers the impact of the loss of a significant caregiver on their current psychological profiles. Three groups of subjects were considered, as follows: Group A experienced loss between birth and 3 years of age; Group B experienced loss between 3 and 10 years of age; and Group C experienced no loss. The results show that there is a significant decrease in psychopathological risk and improvement in subjects’ scores in the transition from pre-adolescence to mid-late adolescence. Adolescents who have suffered the loss of a caregiver within the first three years of life, however, continue to report higher scores than the other two groups, denoting no improvement in their psychological welfare.

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Correspondence to Luca Cerniglia.

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Cerniglia, L., Cimino, S., Ballarotto, G. et al. Parental Loss During Childhood and Outcomes on Adolescents’ Psychological Profiles: A Longitudinal Study. Curr Psychol 33, 545–556 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-014-9228-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-014-9228-3

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Loss
  • Psychological profiles