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Research on the Impact of the Death of a Child – Participants Needed.


The death of a child is something that has a unique quality that makes it different from other forms of grief. It is more complicated and complex as well as surrounded by shame, anger and an overwhelming sense of failure as a parent and guilt for the surviving sibling(s).

This is a specific area of interest for me and, as a psychotherapist, feel that it is one that is rarely talked about, let alone researched.  I would like to understand the experiences of the parents and if possible also other members of the family, how they may grieve, what is similar and what is different. I’d also like to find out what helped and what hindered those impacted by the death. 

The findings of the research will be published in professional counselling and psychotherapy journals and may contribute to a book which will be aimed at helping others who have experienced such a loss, their friends and family as well as other professionals.


The research will be in two parts. One part will be a series of interviews with people who are willing to be interviewed about their experience. It is anticipated that the interviews will last between 1-2 hours. There may be follow up interviews if either more time is needed or if something arises in the research that would benefit from further explorations with the participants.

Another part of the research will be a number of focus groups. The aim of the focus groups is to get information from more people about what helped and what hindered them in their grieving process. 


The focus groups will be held in Liverpool and Manchester. The interviews will be held also in the Liverpool area or may be conducted over the telephone/online. 


The interviews will start in September 2018 and the focus groups later in the year, likely to be November. 


The participants can be anyone who has been impacted by the death of a child, whether this is a parent or sibling. They could also be a very close family member e.g. a grandparent. If a number of members of the same family are willing to be interviewed that would be an added bonus.


If you are interested in more information and in taking part in the research, then please contact Dr Cathy McQuaid either by using the contact form - here -  or phone her on 07428 551163.