College student bereavement, scholarship, and the university: A call for university engagement

  • Balk D
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Abstract

The prevalence of bereavement among traditional-aged college students should impel universities to assist bereaved students on their campuses. Dealing with bereavement can not only challenge a college student's completing the developmental tasks that our society sets for the later adolescent years, but also imperil the student's remaining in school and graduating. It is in the best interests of the university to develop and implement a variety of effective interventions to assist bereaved students. The author argues that universities are communities devoted to scholarly endeavors and should explicitly incorporate the dimension of compassion and caring. An abbreviated case study is used to illustrate the situations in which one grieving student found herself when she returned to school following the death of her father. A call is made for greater university engagement by forming a university-based bereavement center to coordinate and conduct coherent inquiry that fulfills the scholarly functions of discovery, application, and instruction. Four specific actions for a bereavement center are to train nonbereaved students to provide peer support, to provide structured interventions for college students at risk of bereavement complications, to raise consciousness about bereavement on the university campus, and to conduct research into various bereavement populations and bereavement topics.

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Authors

  • David E. Balk

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