Young people making meaning in response to death and bereavement

Ribbens McCarthy, Jane (2009). Young people making meaning in response to death and bereavement. In: Balk, David and Corr, Charles eds. Adolescent Encounters with Death, Bereavement and Coping. New York, USA: Springer Publications, pp. 21–38.



This chapter draws attention to crucial processes involved in making meaning when young people encounter death and other types of major losses in their lives. The chapter considers how the social sciences understand the meaning of 'meaning', pointing to a distinction between 'making sense of' or 'finding a purpose through' such life experiences. Using the notion of 'meanings-in-context', the discussion considers how culture and context are key features of these processes around the globe, as young people seek to make sense of their experiences in the circumstances of their lives. Material inequities and inequalities of power are also significant features of the wider context, as young people interpret their experiences and seek to make meaning of their encounters with death and loss.

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