Children's Grief: Theoretical Conceptualization of the Problem



The relevance of the theoretical conceptualization of children's grief is due to the high importance of psychological assistance to children in the situation of loss of a parent. The purpose of this article is to describe the main theoretical positions conceptualizing the idea of children's grief based on the analysis of psychological literature. Results. Theoretical analysis has shown that the problem of child grief in the literature is represented by the following 4 aspects: the impact of the loss of a parent on the mental health of a child; age-related features of child grief; the stages of child grief; ideas about normal and complicated child grief. The analysis of these aspects allowed us to conclude that throughout the history of the study of childhood grief, the position of researchers has changed from indicating an unambiguous connection between the loss of a parent in childhood and subsequent mental health disorders in adulthood to recognizing the influence of many factors on childhood grief that can help a child adapt to loss. The main theoretical provisions conceptualizing the problem of child grief at the present stage of its study are formulated as conclusions.

General Information

Keywords: psychology of grief, children's grief, loss of a parent, stages of grief, age characteristics of grief, normal and complicated grief

Journal rubric: Theory and Methodology

Article type: scientific article


Funding. The reported study was performed as part of a competition for promising fundamental research works by young scientists of the Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia.

Received: 29.11.2022


For citation: Bakanova A.A. Children's Grief: Theoretical Conceptualization of the Problem. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2023. Vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 28–46. DOI: 10.17759/cpp.2023310302. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Anastasia A. Bakanova, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Chair of Clinical Psychology and Psychological Assistance, Department of Psychology, Russian State Pedagogical University named after A.I. Herzen (FSBEI HE RGPU named after A.I. Herzen), St.Petersburg, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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