Who shouts the loudest? The demographics of research into child bereavement

Murphy, Sam (2015). Who shouts the loudest? The demographics of research into child bereavement. In: Death, Dying and Disposal 12, 2-6 Sep 2015, “1 Decembrie 1918” University of Alba Iulia, Romania.


This paper will be based on a review of research participants who have taken part in bereavement research in the United Kingdom since 2000 – specifically those parents who have lost a child whether to stillbirth, neonatal death or infant death (up to the age of one year old). Such groups are normally seen to comprise of people who are ‘hard to reach’ due to the sensitive nature of the topic. I will contrast the demographic profile of research participants with statistics which demonstrate the demography of loss in order to argue that research has not been able to reach those groups who are most at risk of such a loss, that is, parents from manual or routine occupations and mothers who are born outside of the United Kingdom (ONS, 2015). I will contend that this is a problem given that as services for the bereaved as well as hospital policies will be based on the experiences of those who have been interviewed by researchers which tends to be one particular group of bereaved parents, that is, those people who are born in the UK and who are in professional and managerial jobs. I will go on to argue that there is a need to concentrate research efforts on accessing the ‘hard to reach’ groups within ‘hard to reach groups’ to ensure that not only is bereavement research more inclusive but also that any services or policy which emerge from such research in inclusive too.

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