Adult daughters and mother loss: The impact of bereavement groups

Virginia P Archer, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to examine bereavement issues of adult daughters who had lost their mothers and whether participation in a short-term bereavement support group improved the grieving process. The literature on bereavement suggests that dealing with mother loss is often a painful and sometimes socially isolating experience for adult daughters. This research investigated bereavement characteristics hypothesized as impacting levels of grief and the influence of a support group designed to help facilitate the grieving process. Three additional sets of variables were examined to identify pre-bereavement factors that influenced the grieving process: demographic characteristics, caregiving factors, and situational variables. A quasi-experimental pretest-posttest nonequivalent control group design was used, which included individuals who were not randomly assigned in either the intervention or control group. A total of 58 bereaved daughters participated in the study, with 33 participants in the bereavement group and 25 in the control group. Participants, whose mothers had died 3–16 months previously, were either daughters whose mothers had been in the Hospice program or daughters in the community who sought out bereavement services. Findings from this study did not support the hypothesis that short-term bereavement support groups improve the overall level of grief. There was no significant difference in the overall posttest grief scores between the two groups. Only the depression subscale scores for the bereavement group were significantly lower upon completion of the intervention, whereas the control group had almost no change in depression scores. Results from this study do imply improvement in depression scores indicating that participation in the bereavement group contributed meaningfully to the daughters' grieving process and suggests significant opportunity for therapeutic intervention.

Subject Area

Social work|Psychotherapy

Recommended Citation

Archer, Virginia P, "Adult daughters and mother loss: The impact of bereavement groups" (2001). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3006410.