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Social Work


This article is a report of research that explored how the death of a parent influences a woman’s identity development. Qualitative methodology and data analysis procedures based on grounded theory were used for the research. Eighteen women who experienced parental death between age 11 and 17, were recruited by convenience sampling. Shifts in family relationships and roles, in part, influenced who these young women became. Many young women were expected to take on a care-giving role to support the surviving parent and replace the deceased. The transition in the relationship between the adolescent girl and surviving parent was an important theme for identity development.


This article was originally published in Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 51(2): 87-105. (c) 2005 Baywood Publishing Company, Inc. Systematic or multiple reproduction or distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.