Home Mental Health & Well-Being Research Proposal: The Prevalence of Grief and Bereavement Among University Students

Research Proposal: The Prevalence of Grief and Bereavement Among University Students

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University life is full of stressful demands that originate from campus engagement, academic performance, social belonging, athletic pressures, and the transition from moving away from home. The stress is already hard enough for most of the students to deal with. Some students even need to worry about their financial support. And there are many that work part-time jobs while studying.

Psychological stress is highly prevalent among university students, especially among engineering and art students and those who are residing with their families. So to say, it is really a very stressful stage of life. Stress is normal. Everyone in this world experienced stress and will continue to do so until they die. However, like everything in this world, too much stress is bad.

For the last two years, the expected death rate was raising due to the pandemic. Now, that almost everything is going back to normal, losing someone we love is the hardest part that we could ever accept. Bereavement affects people’s life drastically at any age.

Bereavement is the state of being sad because a family member or friend has recently died. And with bereavement grief usually follows behind. Miriam Webster defined grief as a deep and poignant emotional distress caused by or as if by bereavement. It is a state, a feeling, something that can’t just be written off or ignored and forgotten by force. This type of incident usually happens without any warning. Unless of course, the one who died had a terminal illness. Even then, their loved ones still can’t predict when they will be gone. The closer the bereaved are to the person who passed the more painful it will be for them. What if there’s a student who, in addition to the stress given daily by their university life Is also experiencing grief at the same time?

 In the Philippines, there is no specific data concerning the number of university bereavements. However,  A 2010 study showed that 30% of the sample, composed of 118 university students, had reported a loss of family members or friends in the previous 12 months. This means that such cases are not actually rare. That happens all the time. 

How are these students coping? How do they deal with it? It will probably be very hard for them. They would need help and support. Going through their daily lives must be harder than normal. The effects won’t only be emotional. It can also be physical and psychological. The stress caused by bereavement can hinder them from doing their best to achieve their dreams.

How prevalent are grief and bereavement in a university? And what would be their intervention for students who are experiencing it? These captured my interest in this topic. This study will be significant to guidance counsellors, parents of the students, professors, the community, and the university.

As for the theoretical framework, I have read about theories of John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory, Kubler Ross’ Five stages of grief, Worden’s Task of Mourning, Silverman and Klass’ Continuing Bond, and Stroebe and Schut’s Dual Process. These are theories related to grief and bereavement. As of now, I am still continuing to read about the theories that might add to the framework. Additionally, for my methodology, I am going to use the mixed method. First, in the quantitative approach, I will use the Grief Intensity Scale to administer the test to participants. After gathering the data, I will aid it with a statistical formula to come up with how prevalent grief and bereavement are in the university. Second, in the qualitative approach, I will choose a few participants for an interview on how they cope with grief and what kind of intervention they needed from the university.

This research proposal is very personal to me as a researcher. I, myself, experienced grief and bereavement. My father passed away at an early age and it was the most devastating event in my life. Growing up I don’t know how to deal with grief and people around me don’t know about it. Grief is a long process that until now I cannot say that I am fully well about it. Hopefully, this proposed study will help people understand more about grief and bereavement.

Jelyn G. Bolivar is a master’s degree student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

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