Explore transgender issues like healthcare.

Baggerly, J. , & Abugideiri, S. (2010). Grief counseling for muslim preschool and elementary school children.Journal of Multicultural Counseling & Development38(2), 112.

The authors look at views of death, mourning and burial rituals, and accepted healing practices in Sunni Muslim culture. They also examine intervention methods for addressing death with Muslim children, group counseling, play therapy, and community outreach. The authors note that with Muslim children, counselors should affirm religious beliefs that emerge during play therapy. The authors tell of Naafiah, a 4-year-old Muslim girl who was having nightmares after Yusuf drowned. In her first session, she played with puppets and said that monsters came during her sleep but became smaller with her magic. The therapist noted her feelings of being scared in addition to her creativity and strength for controlling her fear. Naafiah also drew a picture of herself with Yusuf in the water. The therapist responded to was able to realize that Naafiah missed Yusuf.

The authors note that positive coping is important, and turned to where the therapist asked Naafiah what she could do to make herself feel better when she was missing Yusuf. Naafiah told the therapist that she would think of holding hands with Yusuf.  The authors advocate taking time to build relationships with the Muslim community leaders, which will lead to increased trust by Muslim families that need counseling services. Counselors should advocate for Muslims by removing the barriers to school and community resources. The authors advocate that counseling agencies should develop advertisements, literature, and services that appeal to Muslim families. This article is interesting because it looks at a specific community and places grief within a socio-cultural context that is specific to worldview and customs.

Werner-Lin, A. , & Biank, N. (2012). Holding parents so they can hold their children: Grief work with surviving spouses to support parentally bereaved children. Omega: Journal of Death & Dying66(1), 1.

Werner-Lin and Biank assert that a child’s adjustment to the death of a parent is greatly influenced by the surviving parent, and that parent’s ability to attend to his or her own grief-related needs. This also encompasses creating and sustaining a consistent and nurturing environment, and encouraging the child to express thoughts, feelings, and fantasies that are about the loss. However, some argue that the grief and loss of the surviving parent may compromise their ability to effectively parent.

The authors find that clinicians can help parents manage and direct children’s grief by providing a holding environment for whole family units, and help prevent long-term adverse mental health outcomes. The authors note that in combining therapeutic work with surviving spouses and bereaved children, children’s grief can be facilitated as newly single parents adapt the structure of family life. The authors found that when clinical work with families begins before the ill parent dies, the clinician may build a relationship with the dying parent while also preparing the child and surviving spouse for life after loss. The authors conclude with a curriculum for supporting both bereaved children and parents, in addition to presenting common challenges faced by surviving parents.

This article is interesting as it deals with the clinician side of grief, and the authors’ suggestion of a bond that is created by the clinician as a form of support can help mitigate the sense of loss and bereavement is useful in the pursuit of a holistic family studies approach. I also think the idea that surviving parents need help with learning how to parent again is innovative.

Coolhart, D., Baker, A., Farmer, S., Malaney, M., & Shipman, D. (2013). Therapy with Transsexual Youth and Their Families: A Clinical Tool for Assessing Youth’s Readiness for Gender Transition. Journal Of Marital & Family Therapy39(2), 223-243.

The authors write about transsexual youth, and how youth prepare or get ready for gender transition. They note that the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s Standards of Care (WPATHSC) suggests that a letter of recommendation should be prepared and issued from a mental health professional if a transsexual individual desires  or seeks out hormone therapy or surgical alterations/transitions. The authors argue that transsexual clients are unique as they have a special dependence on therapists to obtain the medical treatments and alterations needed to live life in their desired/expressed gender.

The authors point out that in spite of this need for therapeutic services, most therapists do not possess the sufficient training that is necessary to sensitively serve transsexual clients, especially transsexual youth. The authors do note that a published clinical assessment tool exists. This took is for therapists to determine readiness of adult transsexual clients for medical gender transition. However, there is no similar tool is available for therapists working specifically with transsexual youth.

The authors conclude by discussing various therapeutic issues specific to transsexual youth. Additionally, the families of transsexual youth are explored. The authors offer a clinical assessment tool for determining transsexual youth readiness for surgical and medical treatments. This article is great as it challenges existing tools/instruments and it helps provide solutions for a group of youth that are often overlooked or not served with adequate support. This is important to explore, as it can help with clinical practice greatly.

Malpas, J. (2011). Between Pink and Blue: A Multi-Dimensional Family Approach to Gender Nonconforming Children and their Families. Family Process50(4), 453-470. doi:10.1111/j.1545-5300.2011.01371.x

Malpas writes about the different dimensions in a familial approach to deviant gender minorities in the family. The author notes that families of gender nonconforming children have the need and obligation/requirement to negotiate the interactions between two gender systems. These systems entail a rigid gender binary imported from familial, social, and cultural experiences, in addition to a fluid gender spectrum that is articulated or constructed by their child.

The author then reviews the differing and various parental reactions in regards to their children’s nonconforming gender developments. The author also suggests that the parental mandates of protection and acceptance are in fact problematic. They are problematized by the difference of gender norms between the child and the family, in addition to relationships such as the ones between the child and the environment. The author used multiple therapeutic modalities for research. These modalities include parental coaching and education, parent support group, and child and family therapy.

Malpas concludes by illustrating interventions that will support both parents and pre-pubescent children in their negotiation of safety, connection, and fluidity. This article is fantastic as it examines very specific forms of support systems and challenges the inherent relationship foundations that we assume in the familial relationships. The questions of parental acceptance and protection are very important, and the way the author problematizes these elements is very intriguing and engaging.

Richardson, M. , Cobham, V. , Murray, J. , & McDermott, B. (2011). Parents’ grief in the context of adult child mental illness: A qualitative review. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review14(1), 28-43.

Richardson et al discuss how research shows that parents and other family members often grieve over their child and/or relative’s mental illnesses. This grief seems to emerge from a profound sense of loss. The authors note that this loss is expressed as complicated and nonfinite. The authors review research in this field, and focus on the grief experience of parents in relation to their adult child’s mental disorder.

The authors consider both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to explore familial and parent expressions of grief. They noted that there is evidence for the association between familial and parental grief and other outcomes. The authors also discuss finding ways to predict the patterns of grief that will emerge from families having children with mental disorders. This is helpful as it shows a mediation technique. The authors conclude by noting methodological and theoretical issues with this branch of study.

While this article is mostly a review of the literature out there, it is an interesting take on grief. I had only been thinking of grief in terms of death, but after reading this study, I started consider grief as a form of loss, even without death. While mental illnesses can carry a stigma, the loss a parent has for “normalcy” is still a form of grief, and this articles focus on the predictive approach to mediating grief is one that could be very useful and applicable to the field of family studies, pending further research.

 

 

Samons, S. L. (2009). Can this marriage be saved? Addressing male-to-female transgender issues in couples therapy. Sexual & Relationship Therapy24(2), 152-162. doi:10.1080/14681990903002748

Samson writes about transgender and couples therapy. The author notes that it was once believed that if a husband had transgender issues it spelled the end of a marriage. The authors notes that this can be a complicated scenario and that it is best handled by a therapist who has experience with such issues. While many marriages and other comparable relationships can survive, these types of transgender revelation can even enrich some.

The author points out that many couples can live happily together even when the husband has a transgender identity and even if “he” transitions to live fully in the female gender role. The author stresses that several factors must be taken into account by a therapist when approaching this kind of therapy work, in these kinds of situations. Important, the author notes, is a thorough basic assessment of each individual and of the underlying strength of the relationship. This is essential. This assessment should include: “transgender-specific assessment of the husband, including self-awareness and intentions; learning when and how the wife found out about his transgender issues; and information about the relationship dynamics in the extended family.”

The author concludes that the therapist should be informed about things like common fears of the wife of a transgender husband.  Approaches for coming out should be recommended. This information will be useful when helping the couple explore the options available to them in their relationship. Human sexuality and nature is also important to discuss. This article is great as it shows an interesting phenomenon: when a person transitions gender in an established relationship, and the relationship survives. For clinical practitioners, this is an important area.

 

Al-Gamal, E. , & Long, T. (2010). Anticipatory grieving among parents living with a child with cancer. Journal of Advanced Nursing66(9), 1980.

 

Al-Gamal and Long give a report of a comparative study that measures anticipatory grief in parents of children recently diagnosed with cancer, and of those whose children were diagnosed six to twelve months earlier. The authors note that the public perceives cancer as a fatal illness even though there have improved treatments. Parents commonly feel despair, hopelessness, and worthlessness. The authors recognize that these feelings are psychological expressions of anticipatory grief. In terms of therapeutic intervention, anticipatory grief is an area that is emerging as highly beneficial to professionals in the field.

The authors sampled 140 parents in two groups: newly diagnosed and 6–12 months after diagnosis. Using structured interviews to assess anticipatory grief, the authors also used the Marwit and Meuser Caregiver Inventory: Childhood Cancer instrument. The authors found that less than half of the parents in both groups reported being at peace with their life situation or with themselves. Parents of newly diagnosed children reported severe anticipatory grief than the second group. No substantial differences were found in responses between mothers and fathers.

The authors conclude that healthcare professionals should encourage parents to discuss sad or negative feelings regarding their child’s illness and potential outcome. They recommend that hospital policies should include support group services for parents, and nurses should encourage parents to utilize these groups.

This article is really interesting as it deals with mitigation and anticipation. If there are proper interventive strategies in place closer to diagnosis, parents’ experiences may be more positive and less stressful/traumatic during the cancer care process and treatment.

Chapman, R., Wardrop, J., Freeman, P., Zappia, T., Watkins, R., & Shields, L. (2012). A descriptive study of the experiences of lesbian, gay and transgender parents accessing health services for their children. Journal Of Clinical Nursing21(7/8), 1128-1135.

Chapman, Wardrop, Freeman, Zappia, and the other authors seek to explore transgender issues like healthcare. The authors note that while lesbian, gay and transgender families are becoming more common, not much is known about their health-care seeking experiences. These families may experience fear about disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity to health care professionals. Because of this, the authors note that lesbian, gay and transgender parents may not be receiving optimal care for their children.

The authors undertook descriptive qualitative study. They obtained data that was collected through semi-structured interviews with eleven lesbian, gay and transgender parents in Australia. The authors found three themes that were generated from the data. These themes were “managing health care experiences”, “attitudes,” and finally “transforming bureaucracies.” The authors determined that negative experiences included encountering homophobia and/or transphobia and being required to inform or educate health professionals. Positive experiences were found to have occurred when both parents were acknowledged as having an equal say in their child’s health care.

The authors found that many health professionals lack the skills or knowledge to meet the needs of lesbian, gay and transgender families, and that adopting a philosophy of family centered care can enable health providers and health professionals to provide lesbian, gay and transgender families with inclusive non-discriminatory care. This article is great as it links research to clinical care.

 

Katz, S., & Marshall, B. (2003). New sex for old: Lifestyle, consumerism, and the ethics of aging well. Journal of Aging Studies17, 3-16.

 

This article explores the reinvention of differing notions of maturity and aging, lifecourses, and senior citizenship. In today’s society, media and advertising create an idealized culture of ageless consumers and active populations. The authors explore two questions: one of which is whether consumer ethics associated with choice, risk management, and self-care build into new identities around the aging body. The second question asks how sexuality in general, in addition to new concepts of sexual function in particular, has emerged as a pivotal concern for rehabilitating the aging body and negotiating successful lifestyles.

The authors explore these questions through an analysis of health, sexological, and marketing materials directed at both men and women. The authors conclude that by realigning sexuality, gender, age, the body, lifecourse, and identity and in seeking new sex for old, culture and society exposes its impossible ideal that people live outside of time. However, the authors do note that there is a new appropriate and invention of time and age at work. The elderly are inventing diverse new ways of life that mobilize the true resources of time (tradition, wisdom, narrative, memory, change, generation, leadership)  away from the constraints imposed on them by a postmodern life course regime and its constricting posthuman codes of functionality.

This article is interesting and useful as it explores, in a very theoretical way, the emergence of posthuman bodies and aging, and how the media and culture question the agency one has in the functionality of their own life. This article also pushes time as a resource, and our ability to appropriate that time as humans.

 

Wiseman, A. (2013). Summer’s end and sad goodbyes: Children’s picturebooks about death and dying. Children’s Literature in Education, 44(1), 1-14.

 

Wiseman’s article explores the psychological and literary aspect of death/loss themed children’s picture books. The authors focus on two questions: 1) how can children’s picture books, support their grief when someone dies?  And 2) how do the illustrations and text convey the aesthetic and emotional experience of loss? The authors review picture books that have been published about death from 2001 to 2011. They also closely analyze three books that span a range of topics and approaches to death.

The authors found that picture books geared towards children do convey important psychological issues, in addition to cultural issues, through the text and illustrations. The authors assert that if we are able to understand the literary and psychological features of the picture books, we can better understand how they can help children with their understandings and expressions of grief, and how to appropriately incorporate such texts within the grieving process.

This article is interesting for many reasons. For one instance, it shows that there are existing tools and resources that are not only educational, but accessible. However, representation of grief can be problematic in some ways, as children might not understand what is being shown unless they have experienced something similar in their own lives. This study is nice in that it provides us with a multidisciplinary approach, and considered literary, psychological, socio-cultural, and developmental processes that impact not only the reception of the text, but the response to it. As a tool, these picture books could provide an effective way in teaching children how to safely articulate and express their grief.

 

Backett-Milburn, K. , & Jackson, S. (2012). Children’s concerns about their parents’ health and well-being: Researching with ChildLine Scotland. Children & Society26(5), 381-393.

 

Backett-Milburn and Jackson’s article is a report that discusses the collaborative research that has been conducted in regards to ChildLine Scotland. Childline Scotland is a free telephone counseling service. It is also confidential. The authors focused their reportage over the children’s phone calls about the health of their parents, and their well-being, and how these parental instances have impacted the children’s lives.

The authors found that certain trends emerged within the multi-layered calls to ChildLine. In these instances, multiple issues and problems were discussed. Problems included alcohol misuse, drug misuse, domestic violence, depression, familial relationships, mental health issues/illnesses, and grief/bereavement. The authors then discuss how children make sense of these multi-layered experiences, and how familial circumstances impact how the children try to get by. The authors also look at questions of whose help the children valued as well.

The study is helpful because it looks at the role of agency the children have in their own lives, especially in regards to grief and grief management. While this article does mention grief, it is only one aspect of a plethora of problems the children call into to report. This study not only shows the difficult home lives that many children emerge from, but also the context in which grief, if it occurs, does take place. The proactive nature of a helpline also emphasizes the recognition from the child of how their situation needs to be improved. If the helpline encourages open communication, then it may be an excellent resource to train patients and emerging scholars/practitioners in the field.

Lichtenthal, W. , Currier, J. , Neimeyer, R. , & Keesee, N. (2010). Sense and significance: A mixed methods examination of meaning making after the loss of one’s child. Journal of Clinical Psychology66(7), 791.

 

Lichtenthal et al used a mixed methods study to identify specific themes within meaning making among bereaved parents, in addition to examining the associations of these themes with the severity of grief symptoms. The authors view meaning making as a way for the bereaved to make sense or find benefit within the frame of the loss. The authors sampled 156 bereaved parents, who responded by writing answers to open-ended questions about meaning making. They assessed grief symptoms by using the Core Bereavement Items and maladaptive grief symptoms with the Inventory of Complicated Grief instruments.

The authors found that 45% of the sample could not make sense of their loss, and 21% could not identify that emerged from their loss. Thirty-two distinct approaches to finding meaning in their child’s death were discussed by parents, with fourteen involving sense making, and eighteen involving themes of benefit finding. There was a spirituality and religious beliefs ideologies in sense making strategies, with the most common benefit-finding themes showed a desire to help with the suffering of others.

This study is interesting as it shows ways parents view grief, and how they try to cope with the loss. If the benefit finding and sense making strategies can be adequately understood, they can be used as tools and resources to help others that had more maladaptive problems. It is also interesting to note the role religion plays in this as well.

 

Shields, L., Zappia, T., Blackwood, D., Watkins, R., Wardrop, J., & Chapman, R. (2012). Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Parents Seeking Health Care for Their Children: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Worldviews On Evidence-Based Nursing,9(4), 200-209. doi:10.1111/j.1741-6787.2012.00251.x

The authors note that few studies have examined the issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)-parented families in relation to their access to and satisfaction with healthcare services for their children. Apparently the predominant thought is that LGBT individuals have experienced negative interactions and experiences within the healthcare environment. The authors decided to systematically review the literature that investigates the experience of LGBT parents seeking health care for their children. The authors searched the following databases: Cochrane Library, CINAHL, Embase, Google Scholar, Medline, PsychInfo, Science Direct, Sociological Abstracts, Proquest, Scopus, and Web of Science.

The authors then turned to the PRISMA flow chart and processes of the United Kingdom Centre for Reviews and Dissemination to help select and analyze relevant studies. The authors found that four studies met the inclusion criteria. The authors determined that the four studies showed that while the experience of LGBT parents seeking health care was largely positive, strategies need to be implemented to improve the quality of healthcare services for LGBT families. It is important to ensure that their needs are met. The authors conclude that specific educational interventions are needed to support LGBT parents seeking health care for their children. While I have used other articles by these authors, this one is particularly helpful as it illustrates their process. As scholars and clinicians it is important to evaluate other research and critique it so we may strive to achieve further understanding within our own works.

 

Chapman, R., Zappia, T., & Shields, L. (2012). An essay about health professionals’ attitudes to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents seeking healthcare for their children. Scandinavian Journal Of Caring Sciences26(2), 333-339. doi:10.1111/j.1471-6712.2011.00938.x

This essay is about health professionals’ attitudes to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents seeking healthcare for their children. The authors note that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) clients can be reluctant to reveal their sexual orientation to health professionals from whom they may be seeking health care for their children. Family-centered care (FCC) is widely utilized across the world, but care delivery can be compromised if respect isn’t given to all members of the family, which can occur in families with LGBT members. The authors discuss the use of health services by LGBT parents, how  health care is influenced by the perceptions of LGBT people by health care providers, and examines factors that impact subsequent health care.

The authors show that LGBT individuals may be unwilling to disclose their sexual identity to health care professionals when obtaining health care for children. Health professional’s attitudes can be affected by factors such as gender, age, religious and political affiliations, education level and previous interactions with LGBT people. The authors conclude that all parents, even those who are homosexual or a sexual minority, need supportive FCC, and FCC will only be supportive if sexuality is not an obstacle. This article is very similar to another article I examined, but it has some differences. Both are inherently the same, which shows that models and implications for these issues are similar worldwide and that all members of the family must be respected.

 

Toomey, R. B., Ryan, C., Diaz, R. M., Card, N. A., & Russell, S. T. (2013). Gender-nonconforming lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth: School victimization and young adult psychosocial adjustment. Psychology Of Sexual Orientation And Gender Diversity1(S), 71-80. doi:10.1037/2329-0382.1.S.71

The authors note that past research documents that both gender nonconformity and experience of adolescents of school victimization are associated with high rates of negative psycho-social adjustments.

The authors used data from the Family Acceptance Project’s young adult survey. They examined associations among retrospective reports of adolescent gender nonconformity and adolescent school victimization. This victimization and abuse was due to perceived or actual lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) status. Additionally, current reports of life satisfaction and depression were looked at.

The participants the authors sampled included 245 LGBT young adults. They ranged in age from 21 to 25 years. The authors used structural equation modeling (SEM), and they found that victimization due to perceived or actual LGBT status fully negotiates, mediates, and interferes with the association between adolescent gender nonconformity and young adult psychosocial adjustment. This includes life satisfaction and depression. Several implications are addressed by the authors. Some of these include specific strategies that schools can implement to provide safer environments for gender-nonconforming LGBT students.

This article is great because it addresses something very important: perceived status. An individual who may be heteronormative can be perceived as LGBT and they face consequences because of that. These students need support to, as it will probably alter their viewpoints of gays.

 

Fineran, K. (2012). Helping foster and adopted children to grieve the loss of birthparents: A case study example. Family Journal20(4), 369.

 

Fineran notes that there are numerous challenges to be found for children and adolescents that are in foster care programs or systems in regards to the loss of a biological parent. This loss can also include the termination of parental rights, and can be expressed at any stage of the termination process. These situations are especially challenging for counselors.

The author notes that children and youths that are in these situations can often struggle with issues of identity and feelings. Often, questions and expressions of identification, conflicting feelings, and grief emerge as a complex result that stems from the absence of apparent or parents, especially when coupled with the introduction or reorientation to a new life in a new family.

The author turns to a case study and documents stages of grief suggested by Kübler-Ross in addition to the tasks of mourning suggested by Worden. The author concludes with practical applications and interventions that should be considered. This article is interesting, as it also does not limit discussions of grief to death. While children can find themselves in foster home due to the death of a parent, they can also experience a loss by having to be removed from the custody of their birthparents. They not only can lose their parents, but their own identity in relationship to the parents. The concept of mourning is important here, especially when the various traumas and non-normative difficulties these youths must face to have to be placed into foster home. Loss comes in many forms beyond death, and the field of family studies must work to acknowledge ways to help mitigate and resolve these trajectories of loss.

 

Budge, S. L., Adelson, J. L., & Howard, K. S. (2013). Anxiety and Depression in Transgender Individuals: The Roles of Transition Status, Loss, Social Support, and Coping. Journal Of Consulting And Clinical Psychology81(3), 545-557.

The authors write about anxiety and depression in transgendered individuals. More specifically, the authors seek to examine facilitative and avoidant coping as mediations between distress and transition status. This also includes social support and loss. The authors sampled 351 transgender individuals who participated in the authors’ study. The participants completed measures on transgender identity which also include family history of mental health concerns, perceptions of loss, coping, depression, and anxiety.

The authors found that the rates of depressive symptoms and anxiety highly surpass the rates of those for the general population. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to analyze the data. Two separate models were hypothesized, which were based on reports of anxiety or depression. The authors found that the processes for transgender women and transgender men are primarily similar for depression and anxiety. Additionally, avoidant coping served as a mediator between transition status and both distress variables.

The authors determined that social support was directly related to distress variables, and that practices that reduce avoidant coping strategies should be implemented by clinicians. Social support must also be improved so mental health for transgender individuals is consequently improved. There are different coping strategies for people at different parts of the transition process. This article fits my research well, especially that the process of transition is considered. You cannot label singular coping strategies for this group because “trans” is such a fluid concept, and the people are in flux and this cope in different ways.

 

Moody, C. (2013). Suicide Protective Factors Among Trans Adults. Archives Of Sexual Behavior42(5), 739. doi:10.1007/s10508-013-0099-8

The author, Moody, notes that a recent study indicated that there is a suicide attempt rate of 41 % among trans, transgender, transexual/transsexual, genderqueer, two-spirited individuals. While this rate is noticeable, there is a lack of education materials and literature on trans suicide prevention. The author notes that a vital step in developing suicide prevention models is the identification of protective factors. The author hypothesizes that social support from friends, social support from family, optimism, reasons for living, and suicide resilience, which are known to protect CIS (non-trans) individuals, also protects trans individuals. A study was conducted using a sample of self-identified trans Canadian adults that were recruited from LGBT and trans LISTSERVs, using an online secure survey platform. The author also used a three block hierarchical multiple regression model to predict suicidal behavior from protective factors.

The author found that support from friends, social support from family, and optimism significantly and negatively predict 33 % of variance in participants’ suicidal behavior after controlling for age. Additionally, the author found that reasons for living and suicide resilience accounted for an additional 19 % of the variables in participants’ suicidal behavior. The author concludes that perceived social support from family, one of three suicide resilience factors (emotional stability), and one of six reasons for living (child-related concerns) does both significantly and negatively predict participants’ suicidal behavior. The author concludes by noting that these findings can be used to educate and impact the practices of mental health workers, medical doctors, and suicide prevention workers working with trans patients. This article is great is it looks at the various causes for suicide and their implications.

 

Farber, M. , & Sabatino, C. (2007). A therapeutic summer weekend camp for grieving children: Supporting clinical practice through empirical evaluation. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal24(4), 385.

 

Farber and Sabatino’s article looks at a therapeutic summer weekend camp for grieving children. The camp was organized by using collaborative action-oriented community-based research in cooperation with agency-based research and university-based research. The researchers then engaged in a two-year theory-driven evaluation of the therapeutic summer camp for grieving children. The researchers evaluated and examined the camp and the camp practices by looking at the camp model, the engagement from the children within the therapeutic camp activities, and their overall psychosocial functioning. The parental caregivers’ assessments, in addition to the camp staff’s assessments were also used in the evaluation process.

The authors found that in the first year, a synergistic decision-making process emerged. This process strengthened the therapeutic activities in the camp. The overall results from the end of the study show that there was a high consistency among staff in the assessments of engagement, and the assessments of psychosocial functioning. They also found a high level of parental caregivers’ satisfaction with the camp. The authors conclude with exploring the limitations of their research evaluation and implications for practice were also considered.

This study is really interesting as it is a multi-year study of a camp. This seems to be an innovative way to treat grief, and provided multiple avenues for assessment and feedback – the researchers/observers, camp staff, the youths themselves, and parental caregivers. The outcomes of this study could be significant in a hands on and interactive approach to grief management and camp coordination.

Sagberg, S. , & Røen, I. (2011). Social practices of encountering death: A discussion of spiritual health in grief and the significance of worldview. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality16(4), 347.

 

Sagberg and Roen’s article examines the social practices of death and death encounters, with an emphasis on spirituality, spiritual health, and worldview significance. The authors’ study presents case information from various informal situations of grief, and the information from a project called ‘I and death’. These different cases suggest that different worldviews impact the process of grief. It is also suggested that children often do not receive the adequate support they need in terms of spiritual care and well-being.

The authors note that this neglect of spiritual health can often shape and have lasting impacts on the attitudes towards grief in adulthood and later life. The authors note the social practices of encountering death in the context of theories and practices of spirituality, grief, and the secular. The authors explore hospital practices that strongly affirm the significance of interpersonal closeness, a combination of order and love, and the need to identify cordial and polite factors in society. The authors conclude that their initial positions are supported by their findings, in regards to social practices of grief being worldview-dependent. The authors note that worldview and grief should be explored and treated in accordance with how the patient attributes spiritual significance.

This article is interesting as it really takes spirituality as a serious construct. Often there is a grift between religion and sciences, but it is important from the perspective of care to understand the patient, how they see the world, and to anticipate how a patient’s beliefs will impact how they deal with grief or loss.

Chakrapani, V., Newman, P. A., Shunmugam, M., & Dubrow, R. (2011). Barriers to free antiretroviral treatment access among kothi-identified men who have sex with men and aravanis (transgender women) in Chennai, India. AIDS Care23(12), 1687-1694. doi:10.1080/09540121.2011.582076

The authors note that the Indian government provides free antiretroviral treatment (ART) for people living with HIV and AIDS. The authors explored barriers to ART access among kothis (men who have sex with men [MSM] whose gender expression is feminine) and aravanis (transgender women, also known as hijras) who have  HIV in Chennai, India. The authors conducted six focus groups and four key-informant interviews. Using framework analysis to identify categories and derive themes, the authors identified barriers to ART access. The barriers were at the family/social-level, health care system-level, and individual-level. A stigma towards HIV/AIDS was found as many kothis and aravanis feared serious or adverse consequences/risks if their HIV-positive status was revealed.

The authors explored the consequences of disclosure. These consequences included rejection by family, the eviction from their home, social isolation, loss of subsistence income, and maltreatment from the health care system. These barriers are powerful obstacles in the way of accessing ART. The authors conclude that the multi-level barriers to ART access are in fact related to stigma and discrimination. They note that interventions to facilitate ART uptake need to address multiple constituencies. These include the general public, health care providers, and the kothi and aravani communities. The authors also conclude that India needs a national policy and action plan to address barriers to ART access the different levels for aravanis, kothis, other subgroups of MSM and other marginalized groups. This article was great because it showed the different barriers the a group faces, even when public assistance is provided, and accessibility.

Dyregrov, A. , & Gjestad, R. (2011). Sexuality following the loss of a child. Death Studies35(4), 289.

 

The authors’ study sought to increase understandings of sexuality and intimacy following the loss of a child. Using a questionnaire on intimacy and sexuality, the authors sent it to 1,027 members of the two major Norwegian bereavement support organizations for parents who have lost children. A total of 321 were returned, and 10 couples were interviewed in depth about their experiences. The final sample was made up of 169 women and 116 men who represented 175 couples. The authors found that roughly 2/3 of the parents had resumed sexual contact within the first 3 months following the death of their child. The activity of about 1/3 had been reduced. Sexual pleasure was found to have been reduced significantly, especially in the grieving mothers. Many parents have limited sexuality-related problems following a child’s death, but a substantial minority, especially women, can experience major problems.

The authors conclude that there are clear gender differences in reactions and perceptions, which the couples do agree upon and are aware of. Men are ready to resume sexual activity much earlier than women. The grief women feel intrudes upon sexual practices in a different way due to their perception of sex being wrong as a product of their grief.  Men also can misunderstand women’s need for closeness as a sexual longing.

This study is interesting as it shows how men and women not only approach grief in different ways, but how it ties into sexual activity and practice. Grief intrudes into all aspects of life, and the intrusion into sexuality actually reveals a lot about how families cope in different ways, and how it impacts how they relate to others.

 

Slevin, K. F. (2008). Disciplining bodies : The aging experiences of older heterosexual and gay men. (2008).Generations32(1), 36-42.

 

This article discusses the ways that men in later life attempt to retain or regain hegemonic notions of youthful manhood. This can be achieved in many ways, including disciplining their bodies through exercise or dieting. Sexual orientation is also a focus of this paper as it shapes experiences with manhood and with aging. Throughout the article, the author turns to unpublished empirical data collected through intensive interviews. These interviews examined some of the health behaviors the respondents partake in as they negotiate growing old and revealing aspects of aging that render the body a site of struggle and causes ambivalence as people age.

The author found that older men in are susceptible to the coercive norms of youthfulness and the need/practice to actively fighting aging bodies. The interviews also revealed how pervasive ageist notions are. The privilege many of these men enjoy in their retirement allow for exercises and behaviors in age fighting, and for the most part, their bodies still allow them to engage in youthful actions. The author concludes that hegemonic standards of youthfulness and masculinity, can and do stigmatize old age, and thus old men. These standards highlight the desirability of being slim, fit, and active. However these ideals are permeating culture in general, and are increasingly applicable to a wide array of people whatever their social locations may be.

This article is interesting as it focuses on both gay and straight elderly male populations and focuses on the glorification of youthfulness and the responses it elicits. This perspective is original and unique, and the unpublished data used also provides an interesting coda to the author’s findings.

Grulich, A. E., Fengyi, J., Poynten, I. M., & Vajdic, C. M. (2011). HIV, cancer, and aging. Sexual Health, 8(4), 521-525.

 

This article explores aging in relation to people with HIV, and the author seeks to explore cancer screenings and instances in HIV populations. The author notes that as populations of HIV infected individuals age, they will experience increasing rates of all diseases typical of aging, including cancer. The pattern of higher cancer risk in people with HIV is mostly explained by the chronic effects of specific infections, and is not consistent as a symptom of accelerated aging. Many cancers that have been linked to aging do not occur at increased rates in people with HIV. The risk of many infection-associated cancers in people with HIV is, however, closely related to the degree of immune deficiency. In some types of cancer, it is also associated with HIV replication.

The author notes that individuals with HIV are also at a high risk of cancer because they have high rates of lifestyle risks for cancer, such as tobacco and alcohol exposures. The author concludes that in the case of most cancers, it is appropriate to follow general population guidelines on cancer screening. However, there is an exception with cervical cancer. For cervical cancer, annual screening is recommended. Additionally, the author notes that active research is needed to establish whether screenings for anal cancer would prevent the high levels of death caused by this disease in people with HIV, especially in gay men.

This article is interesting as it provides research on the linkage of HIV with other medical conditions of aging, and how they intersect, especially in gay populations. This is helpful as aging does not occur with isolated maladies, and most articles focus on one condition.

 

Bradford, J., Reisner, S. L., Honnold, J. A., & Xavier, J. (2013). Experiences of Transgender-Related Discrimination and Implications for Health: Results From the Virginia Transgender Health Initiative Study. American Journal Of Public Health103(10), 1820-

The authors examined the relationships between the social determinants of health and experiences of transgender-related discrimination, as was reported by transgender people in Virginia. From 2005-2006, the authors conducted a study in which 387 self-identified transgender people completed a statewide health needs assessment. 350 people who completed eligibility questions were included in this examination of factors associated with experiences of discrimination in health care, employment, or housing. The authors used generalized estimating equations to adjust for survey modality.

The authors found that 41% of participants reported experiences of transgender-related discrimination. Many transgender-related discrimination factors were identified. These factors were geographic context, gender (female-to male vs. male-to-female), low socio-economic status, being a racial or ethnic minority, and not having health insurance. Other factors included gender transitioning indicators, young age at first transgender awareness, health care needed but unobtainable, hormone therapy and mental health services, history of physical and sexual violence, substance abuse, and interpersonal factors like family and community support.

The authors conclude by suggesting that their findings show that transgender Virginians experience widespread discrimination in health care, employment, and housing. The authors note that multi-level interventions are needed for transgender populations. These include legal protections and training for health care providers. This article was great as it shows how some individual are not comfortable getting care and the factors that also limit them outside care.

 

Aho, A. , Tarkka, M. , Åstedt-Kurki, P. , & Kaunonen, M. (2006). Fathers’ grief after the death of a child. Issues in Mental Health Nursing,27(6), 647.

 

Aho et al’s study explores the grief in fathers specifically after the death of a child. The authors seek to describe fathers’ grief and the changes the death of a child has brought to fathers’ lives. The authors studied a sample of men that included eight fathers who had lost a child. Using a questionnaire, data was collected with open-ended questions in combination with interviews. Content analysis was used to analyze the data.

Aho et al found that the expression of grief in fathers was manifested individually and dynamically. Additionally, it was manifested in various anticipatory feelings also through physical, social, and behavioral reactions. Both positive and negative changes were rendered in the fathers’ lives following the death of a child. The authors conclude by noting that mental health nurses should be aware that depression and other mental illness were reported, in addition to unemployment and financial problems.

This article is interesting as it looks specifically at the role of the father, and the other complexities that emerge following the death of a child. Existing conditions, such as depression, and additional problems, like job loss, all play a role in how the father copes with grief, makes sense of the situation, and fares mentally. This article was also really effective in its focus on the health and mental health care audience, as the intricacies of grief can be unbalanced by other issues. It is also nice that this article looked at masculinity, as grief is often viewed by culture as a feminine trait, especially with evidence from the previous article about gender differences.

 

 

Weber, S. (2010). Nursing care of families with parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Journal Of Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing23(1), 11-16. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6171.2009.00211.x

Weber notes that families in which parents are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender are more diverse than they are similar. Taking this premise, the author notes that the numbers of parents and children in these families appear to be increasing with implications for nurses and other clinicians. The author reviewed the current literature to determine the fundamental issues that face alternative families that happen to include sexual minority parents and their children. The author also explores the unique nursing needs of families with gay, lesbian, transgender, or bisexual parents in the field. These cases are critically examined for direct relevance to psychiatric nursing practice.

To carry this research out, current theoretical and research literature in nursing, child development, family law, and healthcare professional journals were used. The author found that there is a relative lack of pathology noted in the literature related to families with sexual minority parents. The author suggests that people like nurses, and other healthcare professionals can and should incorporate current knowledge of unique child developmental, parenting, and legal issues into their work. Especially when they work with these families. The author concludes by noting that assessments and interventions that address the unique needs of these families may help parents and children to deal with social stress from being perceived as “different” by other children. These parents of children may be seen as “problematic and threatening” by other parents. This article is great as it shows how important it is to work with families, and how the whole family needs support.

 

Nadal, K. L., & Corpus, M. H. (2013). “Tomboys” and “baklas”: Experiences of lesbian and gay Filipino Americans. Asian American Journal Of Psychology4(3), 166-175. doi:10.1037/a0030168

The author notes that in the Philippines, the terms “tomboy” and “bakla” describe lesbian women and gay men. These terms are often used to label transgender people. While there is some existing literature that describes the experiences of gay men in the Philippines, there is a significant lack of psychological research that examines experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Filipino Americans in the U.S.

The authors used focus groups (N = 24) with lesbian and gay Filipino Americans on both the East and West coasts of the United States. The authors found that five domains emerged: “(1) Religious influence on sexual and gender identity, (2) Family influence on gender and sexual identity, (3) Experiences with race, (4) Process of negotiating multiple identities, and (5) Variant experiences between Filipino subgroups.” These findings indicate that religion, culture, and family expectations influenced one’s ability to accept their sexuality and that lesbian and gay Filipino Americans can and do often experience several psychological stressors as a result of balancing their multiple identities.

The authors note that participants described the types of racism they experience in the LGBT community, as well as the heterosexism they face in their families and in their ethnic communities. The author concludes by discussing implications for Asian American psychology and clinical practices are discussed. This article is useful as it shows that there are multiple stereotypes and discrimination at work, and that there are multiple minority groups that an individual can possess and negotiate with differing levels of support or bias.

 

Wolchik, S. , Ma, Y. , Tein, J. , Sandler, I. , & Ayers, T. (2008). Parentally bereaved children’s grief: Self-system beliefs as mediators of the relations between grief and stressors and caregiver-child relationship quality. Death Studies,32(7), 597.

 

Wolchik et al investigated three distinct self-system beliefs in their study on the relationship between grief and stressors in the caregiver-child relationships of bereaved children. The authors identified the self-system beliefs of fear of abandonment, coping efficacy, and self-esteem. These self-system beliefs are mediated by the relations between stressors and caregiver-child relationship quality. Parentally bereaved youths’ general grief and intrusive grief thoughts are also important consideration.

The authors used cross-sectional and longitudinal models in their testing. In the cross-sectional model, the authors noted a prevalence of fear of abandonment, and how it mediated the effects of stressors and relationship quality. Both measures of grief and coping efficacy mediated the path from relationship quality to general grief. The authors also found that fear of abandonment showed a limited relationship between stressors and intrusive grief thoughts. After excluding the mediators, the authors found that relationship quality showed a direct prospective relation to intrusive grief thoughts.

This article is helpful as it shows the impact of thoughts on grief, and how thoughts interact with each other, and how factors influence those in turn. This is important as the caregiver-child relationship is a fragile one, especially for the child who has lost a parent. Understanding the impacts of grief thoughts on this relationship is crucial to fostering a stable, healthy, and necessary supportive bond for the bereaved youth, and for the caregiver.

Meij, L. , Stroebe, M. , Stroebe, W. , Schut, H. , Van Den Bout, J. , et al. (2008). The impact of circumstances surrounding the death of a child on parents’ grief. Death Studies32(3), 237.

 

Meij et al’s study looks at the impact of how the nature of a child’s death plays a role in the nature of the parents’ grief.  A longitudinal study was conducted by the authors among bereaved parents to examine and understand the relationship between the death circumstances surrounding the loss of their child and the parents’ psychological adjustment. Two hundred nineteen couples participated at 6, 13, and 20 months following the death. Two categories were made for further examination:  was category was for those that were determined by the particular death circumstances versus those over which parents themselves could have influence. The first category is impacted by whether the parent was present at the death, and the second category was influenced by the agency the parents had to make decisions like burial vs. cremation.

The authors found that the results indicated that some factors were related to adjustment over time. The authors conclude that the feeling of having said goodbye to the child and presenting the body for viewing at home were associated with lower levels of the parents’ grief.  This article was interesting as it shows that grief, while a universal feeling, is realized in different ways depending on not only the circumstances of the death, but the involvement of the parents in the circumstances of the death. Involvement in funeral plans can be considered a form of closure, however it can also be seen as a way to remove oneself (busying oneself with work and planning and not experiencing the loss full on). However, it is important for caregivers/health specialists to understand how different actions and circumstances will impact the grief of parents.

 

Calasanti, T., & King, N. (2007). “Beware of the estrogen assault”: Ideals of old manhood in anti-aging advertisements. Journal of Aging Studies, 21, 357-368.

 

The authors note that there has been a resexing of old age, especially in therapeutically, medical, and pharmalogical discourses. These have encouraged elderly men to purchase erection enhancing medicines and supplements. Because of this, the authors use their study to evaluate the linkages between masculinity and anti-aging advertisements. The authors looked at 96 anti-aging ads, and found common themes. Ads were based on hormones, opposing womanhood, stalling aging, competing and performing in sexual and employment realms, and allowing men to dominate those around them.

Because of this, the authors conclude that these constructions in ads reinforces both age and gender inequalities instead of challenging ageism. The authors found men to be defined as dominant and women are defined in terms of men’s desires. There is also a appropriation of prosperity in old age as it is portrayed in terms of younger experiences. Aging itself was constructed as a sickness that stems from a loss of masculinity. The ads capitalize this, and show that a loss of testosterone is an ailment which only aggressive consumption of anti-aging products can heal. These ads also create a double bind as masculinity is in such a way that it is not possible to delay or reverse aging without simultaneously reinforcing unequal gender relations. Herein lies the trap as any movement away from a more dominant form of masculinity serves as a sign of aging. This permeates even at the biological level, as anything that approximates femininity or estrogen is both emasculating and a sign of decay. This article is useful and very thorough in its review of the literature and analysis and shows both gender and aging in relation internally and externally within their respective constructs.

Bonoti, F. , Leondari, A. , & Mastora, A. (2013). Exploring children’s understanding of death: Through drawings and the death concept questionnaire. Death Studies37(1), 47.

 

Bonoti, Leondari, and Mastora’s article explores how children understand death. Their study seeks to investigate whether children’s understanding of death as a concept varies as a function of death experience and age. The authors sampled 52 children ages 7, 9, and 11 years, and asked them to draw a picture reflecting the meaning of the word death. The children were also asked to complete the Death Concept Questionnaire for examination of Human and Animal Death instrument.

The results showed that the two assessment tools that were used offered complementary information. The children’s understanding of death was found to be related both to their age and past experiences with death. Children with death experience seem to have a more realistic and developed understanding of death than their peers without real-life death experiences. The authors found that in regards to the effect of age, the assumption that the different components of death develop through different processes was supported.

This article is helpful as it discusses how children’s experiences shape their developing perspectives. Death experiences can be traumatic in their own right, and perhaps children can even misunderstand death in this regard. If the child did not have life experiences with death, it is interesting to think about where those ideas about death did come from. This article is also useful as it has death in the creative and abstract side – the drawings not only show imaginative qualities, but also steers the discussion into the realm of representation, where the children are making and effort to represent their idea in the abstract (or literal) into a visual expression. This in its own right is interesting, and a great deal can be gleamed from it.

Biank, N. , & Werner-Lin, A. (2011). Growing up with grief: Revisiting the death of a parent over the life course. Omega: Journal of Death & Dying63(3), 271.

 

The authors note an absence of long-term contact with bereaved children for professionals. Biank and Werner-Link note that there is a need to understand how children’s understandings of early loss change and evolve as their cognitive capacities mature. The authors argue that grief shifts in two ways: 1) as children grapple with both normal life changes and mourning, and 2) as their cognitive and emotional development allow them to understand and question aspects of the life and death of their deceased parent. The authors used a longitudinal and cross-sectional research study over the long-term impact of childhood grief.

The authors assert that bereaved children and adolescents should revisit and reintegrate the loss of a parent as their emotional, moral, and cognitive capacities mature and as normative ego-centrism and magical thinking decline. By focusing on the case of a parentally bereaved boy and his family, the authors note the course of presenting across agency-based and private-practice work over a period of 14 years. This case suggests the need for coordinated care for children who are moving beyond the initial trauma of parental loss into various stages of grief and reintegration.

This article is interesting as it explores how grief has had an impact on the course of maturity and growing up. I was really stricken by the use of the phrase magical thinking and its implications. In some ways, magical thinking is therapeutic, but in others it is dangerous and a sign of disassociation. The other articles I’ve found have looked at grief and how it impacts the process or returning to normalcy or in bonding, but not in the overall shaping of the lifecourse itself.

Spuij, M. , Prinzie, P. , Zijderlaan, J. , Stikkelbroek, Y. , Dillen, L. , et al. (2012). Psychometric properties of the dutch inventories of prolonged grief for children and adolescents.  Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 19(6), 540.

 

Spuij et al note that a significant minority of bereaved adults can develop prolonged grief disorder (PGD), a disorder that comes with debilitating symptoms of grief that are distinct from depression and anxiety. The authors developed two questionnaires of PGD symptoms for children and adolescents,  the Inventory of Prolonged Grief for Children (IPG-C) and Inventory of Prolonged Grief for Adolescents (IPG-A). In three samples, the authors measured psychometric properties, including mostly parentally bereaved children (aged 8-12 years) and adolescents (aged 13-18 years).

The authors discovered three distinct findings. First, findings showed that items of the IPG-C and IPG-A both represented one underlying dimension. The second finding showed that the internal consistency and temporal stability of both questionnaires were appropriate and adequate. Thirdly, the authors’ findings supported the concurrent validity, convergent and divergent validity and incremental validity of both the IPG-C and IPG-A.

The study was successful as it provided further evidence of the existence and clinical significance of PGD symptoms among children and adolescents. It also supports the inclusion of a new category for bereavement-related disorders in DSM-V. This study was really interesting as it looked at a special grief disorder that is separate from “normal” expressions of grief. This study also is a bit of landmark as it suggests the DSM-V inclusion. Grief goes beyond emotion and response, and seeing grief as a disorder is a significant way of thinking and handling the complex phenomenon that it is.

Webb, N. (2011). Play therapy for bereaved children: Adapting strategies to community, school, and home settings. School Psychology International32(2), 132-143.

 

Webb’s study examines the role of play therapy in the adaptation process of grieving children.  Webb asserts that play therapy is a highly adaptable treatment method that can be modified according to the age of the child, circumstances of death experience, and settings in which the counseling sessions occur. Play therapy is adaptive and may be used in schools, community settings, and homes to help children dealing with the death of a significant other or parent.

The author reviewed basic developmental factors that impact the child’s ability to comprehend the meaning of death, before proceeding to a discussion over the special circumstances of grief in different situations. A case study is on community-based counseling after Hurricane Katrina is used, in addition to a case study on school-based group play therapy following a teacher’s death, and conjoint parent-child play therapy after the death of a father from a terrorist attack. The authors conclude that with the acceptability and effectiveness of play therapy, professionals must consider and incorporate family and community traditions and beliefs. The author also recommends that professionals should be encouraged to support teachers and parents in utilizing play-based activities to facilitate children’s expressions of grief.

This article is interesting as it shows how play-based activities can be an exciting and useful took. When compared to the camp article discussed earlier, this approach seems like less of a retreat and is better incorporated and phased into the grieving process and counseling sessions.

Todd, S. (2007). Silenced grief: Living with the death of a child with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research,51(8), 637.

 

Todd’s article seeks to examine the experience of parents who lose a child that had intellectual disabilities (IDs). Todd examines the bereavement experiences of parents of people with IDs there exists little research-based understanding of such experiences. The author also seeks to consider the support needs of parents after the death of their child. In-depth interviews were held with 13 parents on the deaths of their children with IDs.

The study yielded data that highlighted the deep sense of intense loss that these parents experience after the death of their child. In addition to the loss being intense, it was also found that the loss was a form of compounded loss. The author notes a double loss as these parents must withdraw from the ID community, which they were likely to be heavily involved with. There was a sense that ID services and professionals terminated contact with the family too quickly. The author notes that adequate supportive emotional communities are non-existent for these parents to express their grief. Todd concludes by saying that the experiences of these parents have a great deal in common with understandings of disenfranchised grief.

This article is interesting as it taps into an unexplored sense of loss beyond the child itself. The inclusion of support communities withdrawing after death forms a sort of double loss, and that can add to the burden of mourning and prevent healthy healing and grief expression. It is also interesting to think of parents of ID children having an increased caregiver role, since their special needs needed extra attention in life.

 

Slevin, K. F., & Linneman, T. J. (2010). Old gay men’s bodies and masculinities. Men and Masculinities, 12(4), 483-507.

 

The authors note that there is a hierarchy of masculinities, a hierarchy where old men and gay men are clearly subordinated. The authors seek to argue against the idea that old gay men are doubly stigmatized. They favor a more complex approach. The authors explore bodily experiences of aging through analysis of intensive interviews with 10 gay men throughout the age spectrum. They interviewed men who were in their 60s, 70s, and 80s and also conducted intensive interviews with 26 men (16 heterosexuals; 10 gay men), 31 women (22 heterosexual; 9 lesbians) in their 60s, 70s, and 80s about how they experienced their bodies in old age.

By focusing on interpretations and strategies these gay men use to make sense of their aging bodies, the authors identified many forms of relating that these men take. They explored how old gay men related to their own bodies, the bodies of other gay men, and their place within gay communities. The authors also kept in mind the notions of glorified youth and aging as a stigma. The authors found that men can reconcile age and homosexuality by different gay communities, especially sadomasochism and bear communities. The bear

community rejects the body norms that are typical, like perfect physique and being hairless. Some old gay men find the bears to be a perfect community, as their aging bodies will be treated

a greater level of admiration than within other gay communities. A similar phenomenon happens in the S&M community, as elderly man can serve as a ‘‘daddy’’ to a submissive and possibly younger participant. These communities may actually allow old gay men to turn their aging into an advantage. This article is really useful, especially with the authors’ pursuits into gay communities where age can become an advantage.

Cintron, E. J. (2012). Transformation: the Progression of Immigration Petitions for Transgender Spouses. Family Court Review,50(4), 666. doi:10.1111/j.1744-1617.2012.01485.x

The author notes that citizens of the US who marry foreign nationals may petition for their spouses so that the couple can reside permanently together in the United States. However, the Adjudicator’s Field Manual in the determination process has imposed a requirement that transgender individuals undergo costly and dangerous sex reassignment surgery in order to qualify as married for the purposes of a spousal petition. The author observes that revisions to the Adjudicator’s Field Manual issued in April 2012 provide transgender binational couples the opportunity to remain together in the United States without forcing one partner to undergo sex reassignment surgery. The author notes that there is a history of discrimination against transgender individuals under U.S. immigration law and that these revisions provide many transgender binational couples with a means to remain together in the United States.

The author addresses the courts and notes that transgender spouses of a binational couple should not be subjected to additional guidelines when submitting spousal petitions that, if granted, would afford the couple the opportunity to reside together in the United States. It is important to realize that transgender individuals should not be subjected to disparate treatment only on the basis of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services seeking to enforce discriminatory provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act. The author concludes that immigration law should recognize a marriage if it is a valid marriage under the law of the state where the marriage was celebrated. This article was useful as it shows current law, revisions, and ways in which the courts must change to promote equality for these couples.

 

 

Abbott, D., & Howarth, J. (2007). Still Off-Limits? Staff Views on Supporting Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People with Intellectual Disabilities to Develop Sexual and Intimate Relationships?. Journal Of Applied Research In Intellectual Disabilities20(2), 116-126.

 

Abbott and Howarth look at the relationships of disabled gay, lesbian, and bisexual peoples in regards to their ability to make relationships or sex. The authors note that in the UK and elsewhere, there is a growing and emerging policy and legislative agenda to ensure that people with intellectual disabilities are supported so they may seek to develop relationships, sexual and otherwise. However, the authors stress, gay, lesbian and bisexual people with intellectual disabilities may have additional needs or face particular barriers in this area of their lives. The authors note particular kinds of support from the staff who work with them that the disabled may require. The authors question how able, or willing to help, are staff in services to address those issues and concerns.

The authors conducted  interviews with 71 staff in 20 intellectual disability services across the UK. They were asked about their views and experiences of working with people with intellectual disabilities who were, or could be, gay, lesbian or bisexual. The authors found that the majority of staff interviewed said that they did not feel confident to work in this area. A number of barriers to performing work were identified. A lack of policy and training as well as the prejudice of staff and parents/care-givers were noted. The authors found that the reticence of staff to engage with these issues needs addressing. This was a great article because it addressed the prejudices and hesitations of care-givers. This goes beyond just educating care-givers – it deals with working with people who might not be supportive in the areas they need.

 

Biblarz, T. J., & Savci, E. (2010). Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Families. Journal Of Marriage And Family72(3), 480-497.

 

Biblarz and Savci look at new scholarship in regards to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families. The authors note that the past decade has witnessed rapid and fast-paced expansion of data and increasingly stronger research designs. The authors suggest that the most notable advance was in the studies on variation among the mostly planned lesbian co-mothering family units.

The authors point out that cumulative evidence suggests that although many of these families have relatively or comparatively high levels of shared labor and parental investment, they may not be as “genderless” as previously depicted or assumed. This is especially true in light of  gay men’s diverse paths to family formation. This planned parenthood has also been explored, but the authors point out that almost no research explorations have studied their children’s experiences.

The authors conclude that varying conceptualizations of sexual orientation need to be expanded to include differing sexual groups, like bisexuals and others. The authors also point out that some understanding of the experiences of transgender people has begun to emerge more clearly. The authors recommend that future work is needed. This work should explore relationships among members of the families they create. This article was interesting as it shows that families are diverse, even in group of minorities. This is helpful as it stops lumping groups of people together in stereotypes, and is useful for family studies research as it challenged the accepted notion of what family is, even in gay families.

 

Ganzevoort, R. , & Falkenburg, N. (2012). Stories beyond life and death: Spiritual experiences of continuity and discontinuity among parents who lose a child. Journal of Empirical Theology25(2), 189.

 

Ganzevoort and Falkenburg’s study emphasizes the spiritual experiences among parents that deal with the loss of a child. The authors note that is its common for many parents to continue experiencing bonds with their deceased child, especially when coupled with different emerging forms of posttraumatic growth.

The authors’ study consisted of sampling twelve parents of children dying after severe illnesses. The parents were interviewed about their experiences, with the interviews containing stories about premonitions, the intensity of the moment of the child’s death and the child’s presence after death. The authors found that thematically the stories reflect the dialectics of continuity and discontinuity in the relationship with the child. The authors conclude that this should be interpreted in terms of attributing meaning, significance and comprehensibility.

This article is interesting and useful, as mentioned in a previous article, the spiritual is an important aspect of grief that isn’t recognizable easily in scientific inquiry. However, the aspect of this article that is really intriguing is the continued bond the parents feel with the deceased child. While another article I’ve found deals with online memorials and creating a social presence, this article deals with a much more personal and religions connection. The construction of immortality of a deceased child may hinder or help the mourning process, depending on how it is rendered, how it fits within the parents’ worldview, and if it is a disassociation or coping mechanism.

 

Twigg, J. (2004). The body, gender, and age: Feminist insights in social gerontology. Journal of Aging Studies,18(1), 59-73.

 

Twigg looks at how body, gender, and age intersect using feminist approaches to gerontology. First, Twigg explores the body in aging studies. She suggests that the absence of the elderly in feminist writings and theories is actually a reflection of the gentrophobia that prevails in the larger scope of culture as a construct. Twigg states the reluctance to transform this has actually come from within the field of gerontology itself. Current discourses on the body need to be replaced by ones that recognize its nature as a social text. The aging body is thus not natural, but a construct that is fashioned within and by culture. Gerontology has actually, Twigg argues, effectively handed the topic over to medicine by avoiding the topic., but in doing so, has lost a central part of its subject matter. Twigg asserts that what the cultural critics have done is recover this important territory for gerontology.

Twigg also focuses on care and management of the body. She asserts that the care sector tended to downplay the bodywork element, and it has obscured it under the more the general and term of “care.” She reminds us that the body is at the heart of this activity and needs to be acknowledged as such. The processes of body care and exploring the micro level of exchanges at the frontline of care are important. Twigg concludes that if we are to grasp the realities of the care system and the ways in which it impacts on the day-to-day lives of older people, we must deepen our understanding of the experience of old age. This article is very articulate and well written and adds a much needed theoretical framework to the approach of the field itself, which is necessary for understanding the information the field teaches us in its research.

 

Khobzi Rotondi, N., Bauer, G. R., Scanlon, K., Kaay, M., Travers, R., & Travers, A. (2013). Nonprescribed Hormone Use and Self-Performed Surgeries: “Do-It-Yourself” Transitions in Transgender Communities in Ontario, Canada. American Journal Of Public Health103(10), 1830-1836. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301348

The authors examine the extent of non-prescribed hormone use and self-performed surgeries among transgender or transsexual (trans) people in Ontario, Canada. In order to study this, they present original survey research from the Trans PULSE Project. In their study, a total of 433 participants were recruited from 2009 to 2010. This was done through respondent-driven sampling. By using a case series design to characterize those currently taking non-prescribed hormones and participants who had ever self-performed sex-reassignment surgeries, the authors collected data.

The authors found that an estimated 43.0% of trans Ontarians were currently using hormones. Of this group, a quarter had at times obtained hormones from nonmedical sources. These sources could be a friend or relative, street or strangers, Internet pharmacy, herbals or supplements. Fourteen participants reported currently taking non-prescribed hormones. The authors found that five individual indicated having performed or attempted surgical procedures on. The authors conclude by noting that promoting training initiatives for health care providers and jurisdictional support for more accessible services could help address trans people’s specific needs. This article was fascinating as it discussed things like self-surgery, which struck me as horrific and dangerous. It shows that bias and barriers to proper care (even among non-related issues like abortion) are essential and should not be dictated by policy-makers’ biases.

 

Sandberg, L. (2008). The old, the ugly and the queer: Thinking old age in relation to queer theory. Graduate Journal of Social Science5(2), 117-139.

 

Sandberg’s article uses queer theory as a social theory and a critical challenge to normalcy in terms of old age.  The article also discusses implications of bringing old age into queer theory. This posits the older body’s sexualities along the construction of heteronormativity.

Sandberg explores how an anti-social turn in queer theory and the embrasure of shame may be used to critique the prevailing discourses of old age. Old age can be marked as “successful,” where the elderly individual is active and independent. Or old age can be unsuccessful as decline and decay can prevail. Failure and the abject are used to theorize old age and ageing bodies, and this article also discusses how some flexible bodies can overcome failures in spite of class, sexuality, able-bodiedness and race.

Sandberg also notes the paradox of elderly men and sexuality as men’s insatiable sexual appetites can be recoded in old age as either a “dirty old man” motif, or as the sexy older gentleman, who is an object of desire. The author states that the failures of old people to perform a desired gendered sexual and aged self can and do go beyond the queer. This scope includes the old woman dressed in clothes inappropriate for her age, the dirty old man, in addition to the drug addict. Sandberg concludes that turning to queer theory can confront ageism, in addition to creating a resurrection of knowledges springing from the old, ugly and the queer.

This article is a thought provoking work and helpful as it really situates temporality within a queer construct, and such a construct allows us to question modes of being and how identities intersect with them.

 

McCarthy, M. , Clarke, N. , Ting, C. , Conroy, R. , Anderson, V. , et al. (2010). Prevalence and predictors of parental grief and depression after the death of a child from cancer.Journal of Palliative Medicine13(11), 1321.

 

McCarthy et al’s aim in their article is to investigate patterns of grief and depression in a sample of parents whose child had died of cancer. They also seek to examine factors related to illness and end-of-life care, using these as potential predictors of parental grief and depression. The authors sampled Fifty-eight parents who completed standardized self-report questionnaires that measured prolonged grief disorder and depression. The parents also participated in structured interviews designed to show their perceptions of their child’s end-of-life care and the burden of their illnesses.

The authors found Twenty-two percent of parents reported substantial depressive symptoms. Time since death and parental perception of doctoral care predicted parental grief symptoms but not depressive symptoms. Conversely, perceptions of the child’s quality of life during their last month, their preparedness for the child’s death, and other economic hardships also predicted grief and depression outcomes.

The authors concluded that a minority of parents met criteria for depression. The authors note that the importance of end-of-life factors in parents’ long-term adjustment and the need for care to ensure the best possible outcomes for parents. This article is great as it looks at the process of dying, and how parents grieve based upon different factors and influences. Depression is a serious reaction, and knowing how the caregiver can help mediate this through quality of life will be a huge asset to grief mitigation.

 

Barrera, M. E., Rykov, M. H., & Doyle, S. L. (2002). The effects of interactive music therapy on hospitalized children with cancer: A pilot study. Psycho-Oncology11, 379-388.

 

Barrera et al explore the use of music therapy with children in health settings, and the impact of music therapy on children with cancer. The authors acknowledge that this subject has been documented before, but its effectiveness has not been well established. Their pilot study was a preliminary exploration of the effectiveness of interactive music therapy in reducing anxiety and increasing the comfort of hospitalized children with cancer.

The authors sampled 65 children and their parents, assessing pre-music therapy measures, as well as post-music therapy measures. The measures consisted of children’s ratings of mood using face diagrams, parental ratings of the child’s play performance, and satisfaction questionnaires completed by parents, children and staff. The authors found that there was a significant improvement in children’s ratings of their feelings before and after music therapy. Parents perceived an improved play performance after music therapy in pre-schoolers and adolescents. However the authors found no improvements in school-aged children. Qualitative data analyses showed a positive impact of music therapy on the child’s wellness.

This article is interesting, and I wanted to include it, even though it does not relate as strongly with the other articles on the surface. However, one common element in these articles about grieving and child-parent mourning has been quality of life, and mediation, and how pre-death and post-death factors can influence mourning and grief expression. This study on music therapy suggests a way that might be able to help with quality of life as a mediation before death in cancer impacted youths. This could not only help with grief, but mitigate the sense of loss prior to death.

Hodson, L. (2012). Ties That Bind: Towards a Child-Centred Approach to Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender Families under the ECHR*. International Journal Of Children’s Rights20(4), 501-522. doi:10.1163/157181812X634247

In this paper, Hodson writes about a child-centered approach LGBT people. More specifically, Hodson seeks to examine the European Court’s of Human Rights towards lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender families and points to the absence of a child-centered approach in its judgments. The author notes, that adult same-sex relationships are increasingly gaining recognition under the Convention and national laws. However, there is a disparity.

The author notes that in matters concerning children, the Court ultimately does prefer a heteronormative outlook that. This outlook, it is suggested, actually attaches special and unique significance of heteronormativity to the symbolic innocence of the child. Because of this, Hodson points out, the Court’s case-law does not adequately reflect the reality of the increasing numbers of children raised in LGBT families.

The author concludes by noting that the consequences of this blind-spot are considerable. They endorse the patchwork of uneven protection for children in LGBT families under national laws. The author urges and points towards a child-centered approach that would hopefully broaden the Court’s understanding of family life to one that would more accurately reflect the family lives of children raised in non-traditional families. This article grabbed me, especially the part of how in courts, heteronormativity is infused with childlike innocent. There is bias and discrimination in the worldview we have, and it is apparent in the structural aspects of our society.

 

 

Pfefferbaum, B. (2013). A pilot study of physiological reactivity in children and maternal figures who lost relatives in a terrorist attack. Death Studies37(5), 395.

 

Pfefferbaum notes that trauma is thought to interfere with normal grief by adding symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder to it. Her study examines the association between traumatic grief and physiological reactivity to a trauma. She interviewed thirteen children who lost relatives in the Oklahoma City bombing in addition to exploring a potential link between children and their maternal figures in physiological reactivity. While Pfefferbaum found no association between post-traumatic stress and physiological reactivity in children, she found substantial differences in reactivity associated with loss and bereavement.

The author also found that children who lost close relatives showed greater reactivity than those who lost distant relatives and that children with higher levels of grief evidenced greater objectively measured reactivity than those with lower levels of grieving. The author found a parallel pattern in objectively measured physiological reactivity between children and their maternal figures in addition to a positive association between children’s objectively measured physiological reactivity and maternal figures’ self-reported physiological reactivity.  Although some of the children and adults in the study received bombing-related mental health services, it extent to which the emotional indicators and objective physiological reactivity in the children and maternal figures in the sample is unclear.

This study shows how grief and loss among child/adolescent and parental figures is expressed in regards to the added trauma of terrorist activities. Grief can stem from any number of things, and this study is helpful in showing addition variables and causes for grief and death. The added trauma of violent deaths must also be taken into account in grieving studies.

Ryan, C. (2010). Engaging Families to Support Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth: The Family Acceptance Project.Prevention Researcher17(4), 11-13.

Ryan write about how families can be engaged with sexual minority youth. Noting that in the past two decades, lesbian, gay, and bisexual and, transgender youth are increasingly coming out during adolescence. While traditionally families provide a majority of the nurturing and socialization for children and adolescents, research on lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth tends to focus on peers, school, and community experiences. The author asserts that research on families of LGBT adolescents has important implications for child and adolescent development. Additionally, factors like health and mental outcomes, services, and professional training are also considered.

The author found that families and caregivers have a compelling impact on their LGBT kids’ health, mental health, and well-being. LGBT youth whose parents and caregivers reject them during adolescence are at high risk for depression, illegal drug use, suicide, and unsafe sex than those who do support them. Those rejected by families during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and 3.4 times more likely to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse. These figures are in comparison with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection.

The author concludes that the findings are not surprising, as other research on youths, show, in general, that families play an important role in adolescent health. This article is great as it shows the impacts of the family unit and how support is necessary for the well-being of adolescents. I like how the author ties the results into other case-studies on the family in general.

 

Ehrensaft, D. (2011). Boys will be girls, girls will be boys: Children affect parents as parents affect children in gender nonconformity.Psychoanalytic Psychology28(4), 528-548. doi:10.1037/a0023828

The author notes that there are transformational possibilities in the family when they are presented with a child who is transgender or of a nonconforming gender. The author challenges orthodox psychoanalytic thinking. This thinking suggests that these children’s gender presentations are a result of poor parental rearing, trauma, or attachment disruptions. The author proposes that gender nonconformity is actually healthy instead of pathological. The author also posits that, typically, these children initially just show up in their families, rather than being shaped by them.

The author looks at the genesis and spread of transphobia and the transformational possibilities within the family, epscially when” boys will be girls and girls will be boys.” The author explores 3 family types that either support or impede their children’s creative gender development. These types are the transformers, the transphobic, and the transporting. The author notes a psychological construct is developed to explain the feedback loop between family and child. This loop shows that the transgender or gender nonconforming child who goes against traditional binary gender norms could face culturally imbedded transphobia and psychological trauma within the family. The author also notes that these difficult experiences can help make the family more supportive and overcome any of their prejudices, boding the family together in solidarity. This article is very useful as it classifies the types of discrimination and bullying along with the family type. This insight that the family may become stronger through transphobia is intriguing.

 

Weaver, R., & Jackson, D. (2012). Tragic heroes, moral guides and activists: Representations of maternal grief, child death and tragedy in Australian newspapers. Health Sociology Review21(4), 432-440.

 

Weaver and Jackson note that newspapers as a medium are highly influential, and they both reflect and powerfully influence the views and cultural practices of both the individual and society. Studying phenomena by using media as a lens provides insights and understandings into how they are constructed and understood culturally. Weaver and Jackson’s study explores newspaper coverage of maternal grief following the death and/or loss of a child. The authors looks at articles published in major Australian newspapers over a three month period. The authors used a thematic approach to the articles, and they were gathered and analyzed accordingly.

The authors found that the tragic mother, often presented as a noble victim in her suffering, is a powerful and strong image in the media. The authors found two key ways mothers were represented in their grief: 1) as tragic heroes, and 2) as moral guides and activists. The authors used classical and modern interpretations of tragedy to discover how culture imbues child death with dignity because of the quality of maternal grief. The authors conclude that the reporting of grief following death can empower women by giving mothers a central voice and role in the media. However, it can also deny power by positioning mothers as helpless victims that can only suffer.

This article is interesting as it explores ways to understand and interpret representations of motherhood and grief, and allows for a discussion on the suffering mother as a construction, which goes beyond the personal/experiential level.

Nemoto, T., Iwamoto, M., Perngparn, U., Areesantichai, C., Kamitani, E., & Sakata, M. (2012). HIV-related risk behaviors among kathoey (male-to-female transgender) sex workers in Bangkok, Thailand. AIDS Care24(2), 210-219. doi:10.1080/09540121.2011.597709

The authors investigate substance use and HIV risk behaviors among kathoey sex workers (KSWs) in Bangkok, Thailand. The authors found that only half of the KSW participants reported having been tested for HIV and that most KSWs had not seen health care providers in the past 12 months. About one third of the participants reported having engaged in unprotected anal sex with customers in the past six months. A significant majority of all participants reported alcohol use, in addition having had sex with customers under the influence of alcohol. The prevalence of marijuana and ecstasy use in the past 12 months was high as it was for non-injecting methamphetamine abuse.

The authors used a multiple regression analysis to show that the participants who were post-operative status, had used illicit drugs, or had been abused by their father and brothers were less likely to use condoms for anal sex with customers. The authors’ interviews revealed that many identified as girl or kathoey in early age and had been exposed to transphobia and violence from father and brothers. Some reported support for gender transition from their mothers. The authors conclude that family obligation for sending money and the Buddhist concept of karma were discussed in relation to risk behaviors among KSWs. Implications for facilitating HIV testing and developing future HIV prevention intervention programs for KSWs in Thailand are discussed. This article was fascinating is it shows transitional sex-workers, motivation for money (like sending it to families) and familial abuse. This article shows the complex factors that people face and how important available and supportive health care should be available.

 

Abbott, D. D. (2013). Nudge, nudge, wink, wink: love, sex and gay men with intellectual disabilities – a helping hand or a human right?. Journal Of Intellectual Disability Research57(11), 1079-1087

 

Abbott looks at the gay sex of men who have intellectual disabilities. The author posits the question: “how do human rights help us with the experiences of people with intellectual disabilities (ID) who face discrimination and barriers in their sexual lives?” In particular, gay men with ID can experience several rights violations when it comes to expressing their non-normative sexuality. The author examines how the power of men’s own stories can help challenge prevailing social norms. This would strengthen human rights claims and could be very useful

Abbott uses empirical research with gay men with ID that was completed in the UK in 2005 and also revisits some key messages from the data. Abbott also considers the wider literature on the power and possibilities of human rights, and how personal and ‘intimate stories’ can lead to everyday change. Abbott concludes that gay men with ID tell powerful stories of love, longing and exclusion. He notes that the telling of men’s personal and ‘intimate stories’ creates powerful challenge to discriminatory practices and norms of our current times. This article is great as it compares nicely to a previous article I explored for this topic, sexual practices of ID women, who were exclusively heterosexual. It is important to look at the attitudes and practices of sexuality within different populations of ID people as it helps show the marginalization of disabled people, and the role of sexuality in what it means to be human. The specific gay focus of this article helps give agency to a group of individuals that are already on the periphery of culture.

Adams, M. S., Oye, J., & Parker, T. S. (2003). Sexuality of older adults and the internet: from sex education to cybersex. Sexual and Relationship Therapy18 (3), 405-415.

 

The authors note that the elderly are often viewed and stereotyped as asexual, resistant to change, incapable of learning new skills, and generally out of touch. However, recent studies found that the elderly have been logging more time online than some younger age groups. The authors note that older adults generally log on to the internet for activities like tracking their genealogy, checking the stock market, finding health related information, communicating with family members, and expanding their social network. They also participate in chat rooms, forums, and bulletin boards and foster an online community. The authors are also interested in ways the internet, the elderly, and sexuality intersect.

The authors found that the internet can make the elderly more assertive in their sexuality as it provides anonymity, affordability, and access. In addition to online dating, the internet is offering new venues for elderly-oriented erotica and pornography, and the authors note that there are an increasing number of amateurs posting erotic pictures of themselves, including older women and men. Medications, sex toys, and sexual accessories/enhancements are instantly available for purchase and are anonymous, and provide the elderly from relief from ageist vendors.

The authors conclude that the technological competence and relative affluence of the elderly will increase the potential of the Internet as a source of personal and social expressions of sexuality in later life. This article was very interesting and useful because it looks at personal and private activities, and the authors place sexuality as part of an identity that often evades consideration from younger people, and provides interesting data and studies.

Nicol, P., Chapman, R., Watkins, R., Young, J., & Shields, L. (2013). Tertiary paediatric hospital health professionals’ attitudes to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents seeking health care for their children. Journal Of Clinical Nursing22(23/24), 3396-3405.

The authors seek to gain insights into health professionals’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents that seek health care for their children. The authors focused on a pediatric tertiary hospital setting that practices family-centered care. The authors note that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents are usually reluctant to reveal their sexual orientation to health care professionals out of  fear of discrimination, or a potential compromised quality of care. The authors used a descriptive comparative study of health care staff using a cross-sectional survey. The authors used a set of validated anonymous questionnaires to assess knowledge about homosexuality. Additionally, attitudes towards lesbians and gay men, and gay affirmative practice were assessed. 3 open-ended questions were also used to see how disclosure may impact on care.

The authors found that knowledge and attitudes were significantly associated with factors likeL professional group, gender, Caucasian race, political voting behavior, religious beliefs and practices, and knowing a friend who was openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. The authors conclude that  health care workers held attitudes and beliefs that might impact the experience of hospitalization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents, and the quality of care received by their children. They note that organisations should ensure that family-centered care policies and guidelines are adopted and appropriately implemented. This article was great because it shows how the quality of care can suffer if a parent is a sexual minority, and how children, who are not sexual minorities, can face discrimination as well due to their parents.

 

Chapman, R., Watkins, R., Zappia, T., Nicol, P., & Shields, L. (2012). Nursing and medical students’ attitude, knowledge and beliefs regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents seeking health care for their children. Journal Of Clinical Nursing,21(7/8), 938-945. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2702.2011.03892.x

The authors note that little research has been conducted to investigate students’ attitudes, knowledge and beliefs regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents that seek health care for their children. To bridge this gap, the authors use a descriptive, comparative study. The authors used validated scales to assess students’ beliefs, knowledge, and attitudes and any gay affirmative practices. The authors focused on three open ended questions which assessed beliefs regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents accessing health care for their children.

The authors sampled nursing and medical students who in turn completed questionnaires about attitudes to homosexuality. Using chi-square tests of independence, variables were assessed. Also,  differences between nursing and medical student groups were assessed using the Mann-Whitney U-test or the Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis of variance test

The authors found that thoughts and attitudes about homosexuality were significantly associated with students’ race, political voting behavior, religious beliefs and knowing someone who is openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. The authors conclude that it is important to develop strategies to address the existence of prejudicial attitudes among student health professionals and prevent discriminatory practices towards LGBT parents when seeking health care for their children. This article, while similar to other articles, is helpful as it adds another component, educational resources for the student. So even if LGBT parents are concerned about their child’s quality of care, the children can have support systems in place, even if not LGBT.

 

Pfeffer, C. A. (2010). “Women’s Work”? Women Partners of Transgender Men Doing Housework and Emotion Work. Journal Of Marriage & Family72(1), 165-183. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00690.x

Pfeffer writes about the partners of transgendered men performing feminine roles. The author notes that in spite of the increasing family studies research on same-sex cohabiters and families, existing research and literature is significantly neglectful and void of transgender and transsexual families and issues that face them. In order to help bridge this gap, the author  presents qualitative research narratives on household labor. In addition the author also looks at emotion work from 50 women and female partners of transgendered and transsexual men and males.

While there is significant literature, research, and studies that focus on exploring “same-sex” couples, the division of household labor and emotional work within these contemporary families cannot simply be described as equal or egalitarian. The author also notes that there are different  forms of emotion work, like “gender strategies,” “family myths,” and “accounts.” Though this work in which women partners of trans-men engage in resonate with those from women in (non-trans) heterosexual and lesbian couples, they are also distinct.

The author concludes by emphasizing and highlighting tensions among factors such as personal agency, politics, and varying structural inequalities that exist in family life and within the family unit. This article is great as it explores the family unit and highlights action vs. construction and performance, challenging the nature of daily and family life.

 

 

 

Barrera, M., Alam, R., D’Agostina, N. M., Nicholas, D. B., & Schneiderman, G. (2013). Parental perceptions of siblings’ grieving after a childhood cancer death: A longitudinal study. Death Studies, 37, 25-26.

 

Alam et. al’s study was a longitudinal study that explored how parents perceive the grief of siblings after the death of another sibling due to cancer. The authors interviewed parents after 6 months and again after 18 months following the death. Data was analyzed combined and over time. The authors found the following themes: (1) expressions of grief: the act of missing the deceased child (verbally or crying), behavioral problems, difficulty understanding the meaning of death (in pre-school children), and avoiding talking with parents about feelings (in adolescents); (2) what helps siblings’ grief: moving on, talking about deceased child and receiving social support; (3) the relationship with parents improved for most siblings; and (4) bond with deceased sibling: pretend-play (in preschoolers), dreaming, and career choices (in adolescents). Generally, themes reflected stability and change over time.

The authors found that the marked differences between younger siblings and adolescents are possibly due to the developmental changes and the capacity to understand the permanence of death. Adolescents were found to have intense grief at the first set of interviews, but a more noticeable return to normalcy by the second interview, whereas younger children may be more apt to blame parents for the death of the sibling. However, the authors found that the nature of the death, the time of the deterioration of health, and other circumstances impacted the way the siblings perceived this death. This study is helpful because it not only moves to assess the grief of siblings for the death of another sibling, but also measures the parental perception and thus places this in the framework of the family.

Mitchell, L. M., Stephenson, P. H., Cadell, S., & MacDonald, M. E. (2012). Death and grief on-line: Virtual memorialization and changing concepts of childhood death and parental bereavement on the internet. Health Sociology Review21(4), 413-431.

 

Stephenson et al’s study explores the impact of virtualization and virtual reality in terms of grief and memory. The authors note that virtual memorials that are intended to memorialize the lives of children actually imply significant shifts in the conceptualization of death, and particularly for parents that are grieving. Virtual memorials are created by parents in memory of their deceased children. Online memorials constructed using pre-made templates actually reflect strong cultural beliefs about the nature of childhood deaths, grief and the development of the afterlife.

The authors note that virtual memorials create new social values for the dead and shift death and grief from the private into the public experiences. They describe an online immortality of sorts that is created through virtual memorials, and in this immortality, the virtual presence of the deceased in the text and images, can foster practices intended to sustain a relationship with the deceased. Even though such memorials can offer comfort, they may also extend mourning indefinitely. There are many ways in which grieving parents are isolated and transformed fundamentally by the death of their child. The shift in reality, in sensation, in perception creates an embodied relational sensibility that for some may mesh well with having a virtual child. Yet parents who create and maintain online memorials and social networks for their dead children may find they cannot easily leave the virtual places they produce. This article has implications for the authorship parents may have over the virtual social life of their “virtual child”. This is important for understanding the intersections of grief, family, and the internet.

Degroot, J., & Carmack, H. (2013). “It may not be pretty, but it’s honest”: Examining parental grief on the Callapitter blog. Death Studies, 37(5), 448.

 

Degroot and Carmack’s article looks at parental expressions of grief on a blog. They note that after the death of a child, parents are seeking alternative means of communication to express their grief. In their case study, the authors focus on one subject, Amy Ambrusko, who communicates her grief experience on her blog while also emotionally negotes loss and parental grief. By using M. S. Miles’s parental grief model, the authors explore how the Callapitter blog serves as a case study illustration of parental grief expressed online. The authors find that Ambrusko displays parental grief in three ways: 1) requestioning/questioning reality, 2) experiencing discursive and corporeal guilt, and 3) rationalizing a “new normal.”

The authors note that grief blogs serve as spaces for reflection about the loss of a

loved one in a way that problematizes how society thinks about the grieving process. Grief is no contained in a private space, but now be publically expressed and emoted. Through blogging about her experiences, Ambrusko is able to learn from her bereavement while allowing anyone with Internet access to witness her anguish and read about her attempts to grieve. Some readers might disapprove of the expression of grief online, believing that grief lies in the province of the private. However, other readers might view Ambrusko’s public displays of grief as advantageous to others who are grieving. Grief blogs enable readers to see that they are not the only ones experiencing profound guilt and sadness. This article is interesting at it shows a specialized case study that shows a connection between grief and the public. Whereas the previous article cited explores parents extending the lives of their dead children through social media memorials, this illustrates a public display of raw and authentic emotion.

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