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Brigitte Carter SN Assignment 2 Dr K.

Research Assignment

The unexpected, sudden or ambiguous death of a sibling: Impacts on the academic


performance of a child in the Primary School years and the supporting roles of parents
and schools.

Abstract: The following hypothetical research study was constructed by the author as part of a Fourth-
Year assessment requirement. It is to be assumed that the hypothetical research was conducted by a
hypothetical staff member at Curtin University. She was to be a speaker at an upcoming Principals
Conference on Childhood Adversities. All subsequent ethical processes and procedures were
conducive to this role.

Key words: Grief, Trauma, Impact, Support, Siblings, Parents, Schools, Academic Performance

Introduction

The impact of losing a sibling is documented in an eclectic range of international, cross-


cultural research literature. The researcher has taken a broad view of who and what contribute
to the impact and; its subsequent impact on academic performance of a child who has
experienced this unprecedented traumatic adversity. Using a wide-range of peer-reviewed
resources from a cross-section of domains such as; Child Family Studies, Child & Adolescent
Trauma, Sleep Medicine Reviews and Death Studies, the researcher was able to identify
underlying factors which affect a child when they have a sibling who dies. The breadth and
depth of the topic under review deemed it necessary to use a wide-range of information. Much
of the literature found throughout the research period, was aimed at and accessed from
adolescents, parents or those with intellectual disabilities or medical illnesses and the support
which they are given.

Very little was found on children aged between 7 and 12 who have lost a sibling to sudden,
unexpected or ambiguous death or the impact this sibling loss has on the parents and their
roles or in the support the surviving child requires to navigate their academic world. Little is
documented about how this experience impacts and underpins a child’s academic
performance and; the subsequent relationships developed after this adversity with schools.
This discovery morphed into the basis for this research study – the lens would now be aimed
and focused towards unexpected, sudden and ambiguous loss and the impact on a child’s
education/academic performance and the supporting roles of parents and schools.

Many domains were considered, regarding examining a child whose sibling has died –
emotional, cognitive, social well-being and function, child’s developmental stage – all of which
are inextricably linked – and all affect academic performance. It is imperative that the impact
of sibling loss is not under-stated and that the long-lasting impact of this tragedy is
Brigitte Carter SN Assignment 2 Dr K.

acknowledged for on-going and future well-being, outcomes and economic success of the
surviving sibling. It is important for schools that as an institution they recognize and
understand that people will grieve differently and that students are supported and not
disenfranchised of their grief. Understanding the impacting nature and trauma a child
experiences when a sibling dies - provides schools with possible guidelines and opportunities
to support the child – in a way in which their needs are met

Significance

There are many stakeholders who will benefit from recognizing the impact the loss of a sibling
has on a child in the primary school years. Longitudinal studies by Fletcher, Mailick, Song &
Wolfe (2013) indicate there are spill-over long-lasting impacts which may affect a child as they
enter adolescence and adulthood. For example; there are socio-economic implications as a
result of reductions in years of schooling (p. 804). Studies have found that early exposure to
adversity may be a precursor to future maladaptive behaviours and is also likely to impact
coping mechanisms (Tan, Wang & Ruggerio, 2017, p. 2749). Being aware of a surviving
sibling’s needs and providing the proper support and care are paramount to the child making a
successful transition in to the future such as; employment or further education.

Researchers have identified that surviving siblings are impacted in different ways (Fletcher,
2013, p. 813). Worden, Davies & McCown, (1999); McCown & Davies, (1995) have identified
specific behaviours, that genders exhibit - and need to be addressed. These include for
females: anxiety, depression, withdrawn behaviour, thought problems, attention-seeking
behaviours and somatic problems (p. 6). Males were more likely to be withdrawn, have poor
concentration or externalize behaviours (p. 6). Sleep problems are an issue for both genders
and has been found by Curcio, Ferrara & Gennaro, (2006) to affect coping, as well as learning
processes and memory consolidation (Smith, 2001; Hobson & Pace-Scott, 2002) Parents and
schools have an opportunity to recognize these behaviours and work together to support and
develop contingency plans for individual children.

Background

Every child is unique as is their relationship with their sibling. Sibling relationships have been
defined as being a reflection of the self and their world; sharing a past, present, and future
history that is unlike any other relationship (Machajewski & Kronk, 2013, p. 1). Therefore, the
likelihood of this adversity having a profound impact on the surviving sibling’s development is
Brigitte Carter SN Assignment 2 Dr K.

imminent. Current literature by Machajewski & Kronk, (2013) & Gibbons, (1992) support this
ideology and the need for action to support the traumatized child.

A comprehensive literature review was conducted to ascertain the most salient and current
findings on how the death of a sibling impacts the academic performance of a child in the
primary school years. Current literature agrees that there are significant factors which impact a
child when they lose a sibling. For example; One of the most common findings is that the
adverse behavior of the parents profoundly affects a child’s development (Machajewski, &
Kronk, 2013, p. 1; Gibbons, 1992, p. 65) particularly at what Erikson refers to as the
psychosocial stage (6 -11 years) which may lead children to develop a sense of inferiority and
vulnerability (McCown & Pratt, 1985, p. 333). Research by Crehan, 2004; Tan, Wang &
Rugerio, 2017, p. 2748-2749) found parent behaviour after the death of their child had a
profound adverse effect on the surviving child’s cognitive, emotional and social well-being. It is
vital research addresses these complex behaviours and relationships.

The focus of the research is on children in the Primary School 7-12 years. Therefore, what is
important is not only what parents are doing to support the grieving child, but what and how
schools are doing to assist children who have a sibling who dies. Not only while the child is at
school but how the connection is made with the parents and child to link together - to provide
a more cohesive and holistic support base for the child.

Research Questions

The research questions have been adapted from the literature review outcomes and are as
follows;

Main question

1. Does the death of a sibling impact the academic performance of a child in the Primary
School Years?

Sub-questions

2. Does the behavior and support of a parent impact the surviving child’s academic
performance?
3. Does the support of the school impact the surviving child’s academic performance?

These two sub-questions underpin the main question by drawing out the separate issues of
how and what parents and schools do as separate entities; and then reconnecting them to
decipher how they impact a child’s academic performance. The purpose of this study was to
investigate current support and interventions parents and schools are giving primary school-
aged children to assist them with their academic performance after a sibling has died. There
was also an opportunity to get a snap-shot of the comparative perceptions of children v’s
Brigitte Carter SN Assignment 2 Dr K.

parents and how they perceive there needs as being met. Because of the sensitive nature of
the topic, the researcher chose to have the children complete only the questionnaire to reduce
the stress of talking about their deceased sibling in a clinical way. This comparative view has
previously been undertaken in research by Murray (2001) which indicated that there are often
conflicting perceptions regarding the needs of a child being met.

Methodology

Participants

Data reported in this research paper are part of a longitudinal, qualitative mixed-method study
that examined how children’s academic performance is affected in the primary school years
when a sibling dies – suddenly, unexpectedly or ambiguously. Prior to the research, the
author had discussed her study idea with some family, friends and acquaintances who had
children whose sibling had died – and the need for participants in a research study she was
planning. Before beginning the planning stage, each was telephoned, to briefly discuss the
intended research study. Several of them expressed an interest or willingness to participate.

The recruited participants were parents and children that were family, friends and associates
who had a child who had experienced the death of a sibling and fell into the specified criteria
brackets; Had a child 7-12 years; One parent willing to participate; Six months since the death
of the child (see Table 1).

The parents were sent a survey (see Appendix 3) of interest in participation which explained
that the study would be conducted in Three Series each which consisted of three stages;

 1. A Parent Questionnaire and a Child Questionnaire (see Appendices 10 & 11);


 2. A Parent Telephone Survey (see Appendix 12); and
 3. A Parent Interview (see Appendix 13).

These modes of sourcing information were done in a specific way to enhance relationships.
For example; Stage One: Allowed the first opportunity to get closer to the participant through
the written word; Stage Two: Allowed the voice to be used to develop trust and familiarity and;
Stage Three: The face-to-face contact and body-language enhanced the relationship. Letters
outlining the research and consent forms were sent to each family. Parents were sent an
Information Letter: Parents – Child and Individual Participation (see Appendix 4); Consent
Form for Parents – Child and Individual Participation (see Appendix 5); Consent Form for
Older Primary School Children (10-12) (see Appendix 6 & 7). Consent Form for Young
Children (see Appendix 8 & 9) Questionnaires. Where parents were both participating in the
study, they were asked to complete the documentation separately. In the children’s
Brigitte Carter SN Assignment 2 Dr K.

questionnaire, a series of questions (similar in nature to the adult questions), were asked, but
were written in a simplified way for easy understanding. The reasoning for including the child’s
perspective was to determine if there were conflicting views between adult responses and
children’s responses. The age groups were chosen primarily because of the lack of
documentation found in the research literature done om this age group on sibling death and
their relevance to developmental stages.

The second stage was a telephone survey with a Yes, No or Unsure response. The third stage
was an interview to be held at the University in a secure and comfortable room. Discussion
was held about the best place to meet and the participants home was decided a non-option.
All participants were happy to attend the University for the interview and would be met and
sign -in as Visitors at the front-office.
Table 1 Individual/ Environmental Characteristics of Parents and Surviving Siblings and Characteristics of
the Sibling’s Death

Individual Characteristics

Gender of Surviving Sibling


Male 3
Female 4
Age Range of Surviving Sibling (in years) Male Female
(7 - 9) 2 2
(10-12) 1 2
Total Mean Age (x̅) x̅ Age 9.28 years
Sibling type to deceased Male Female
Biological 1 3
Half 2 1
Adoptive - -
Other - -
Age Range of Deceased Sibling (in years) Male Female
Under 1 year 1 –
1–3 - -
4-6 1 2
7–9 - 1
10 – 12 - -
13 and over 1 1
Parent Characteristics
Gender
Male 3
Female 4
Marital Status
Married 2
Defacto 3
Widowed 1
Single 1
Parent Type to surviving sibling Fathers Mothers
Biological 3 4
Step-parent - -
Adoptive - -
Environmental Characteristics
Cause of death Male Female
Accidental 2 4
Ambiguous/Other 1 -
Years/ months since the child’s death
Mean Time (x̅) x̅ 1 Year 8 Months
Time Range 11 Months to 3 Years

Adapted from Morris, Gabert-Quillen, Friebert, Carst & Delahanty, 2016, p. 62). Accessed from https://www-sciencedirect-
com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0885392415004583
Brigitte Carter SN Assignment 2 Dr K.

Sample group information

Seven families were selected to participate in the study. Seven children (four aged 7-9 and
three aged 10-12) and seven parents (4 mothers and three fathers). All were biological
parents – although that was not criterion. All experienced the sudden or unexpected death of
a child or sibling (see Table 2).

Table 2 Individual Participants Overview

Family Parent Surviving Surviving Deceased Deceased Cause of Death


Name participation child child age child age gender
gender gender
Blake Mother Male 8 6 Female Drowning

Kernet Father Female 7 5 Female Hit by car – killed instantly

Rentil Mother Female 10 17 Female Car accident -killed instantly

Laurie Mother Male 11 18 Male Lost at sea – Coroner


presumed deceased

Michal Mother Male 8 10/12 Male Crushing accident

Jasper Father Female 12 8 Female Killed in a house fire with


Mother

Tralor Father Female 9 4 Male Electrocution – instant death

Research Design

Phenomenological Approach

This research was underpinned by the Phenomenological Approach which aims to capture the
broad lived experiences of those who had suffered the experience of losing a child or sibling.
Studies by Coulter & Mooney (2017) have identified the need for robust studies which address
the phenomenological experiences of those who have been impacted by trauma.

Narrative Approach

This research was also underpinned by the Narrative Approach where the inquiry constructs
the personal journey of the individual (Patterson, 2015).

Data analysis
Brigitte Carter SN Assignment 2 Dr K.

Questions were categorized in to four headings; Personal Behaviours; Parent Support; School
Support and; Academic Performance.

The Questionnaire used the Likert Scale to analyse the frequency of the response. The SD
and D were added together as were the SA and A. This was done for each question and
recorded in RED. The Child’s Questionnaire was also analysed using the same format but
recorded in BLUE with each question matched up to one of the Parent questions. The Survey
questions were also matched up to the RED questions in GREEN. By doing this the validity of
the responses could be checked. The interview questions used BLACK to record responses
and were also matched up and any residual responses recorded. This was repeated for
Series 1-3 and results were compared and recorded.

Research Ethics

Ethics and integrity underpin all research – not only from a legislative perspective but also
from a moral standpoint and should be “…an ethos that should permeate the way those engaged
in human research approach all that they do in their research”.p.3 National

Researchers Ethical Conduct Steps:

1. Consideration given to cultural requirements/ Communication abilities.


2. Create and submit a Data Management Plan. University DMP
3. Create a Risk Management Plan – (HSEM: RA)
4. Contact University Counselling services re: participation.
5. Participants survey of interest form.
6. Peer-review and approval of application documents by University Humanities
Department.
7. Application for Ethical Approval for a Research Project Involving Humans sent to
Humanities with attached documents: WWCC, RDMP, Parent participant letters and
consent forms, Child participant letters and consent forms.
8. Approval before any research begins.
9. University’s logo and Ethical Approval Number required on all communication.
10. Storage marked In-Confidence and Protected.

No translators were required. No changes were made throughout the research to the initial
study application. There were no specific cultural dimensions within the research and
therefore no conflicts of interest or cultural specifications which needed to be met. For
example; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were not specifically identified – the
information was generic with criteria being predominantly age specific.
Brigitte Carter SN Assignment 2 Dr K.

Potential Ethical Dilemmas

Due to the nature of the research and under the governing codes - risk factors were identified
and represented in the Application. These were identified by the researcher in Section 2:13 of
the ethics Application form “Potential harm or risks to participants”, however, it is argued that
the potential risks are super-ceded by the potential benefits. See NHMRC guidelines;

“2.1.2 Risks to research participants are ethically acceptable only if they are justified by the potential
benefits of the research”.

An example of risk may include; the participants becoming over-whelmed when speaking
about the loss of their child or sibling. Counselling services from within the University were
arranged for any adult or child who may experience any ill-effects from the research. For
example; the research may evoke emotional pain which is causing anxiousness. The
counsellor can address each situation as it arises in line with the NHMRC guidelines;

“5.5.2 Monitoring arrangements should be commensurate with the risk, size and complexity of the
research”.

Data Storage:

The researcher created a Data Management Plan conducive to the requirements of the
institution and its governing bodies. As the research was conducted by a staff member of the
University – protocol was followed - and the data was stored within the University. The
researcher submitted a Research Project Data Storage Request and completed the required
essential elements of storage – this is an essential component of the storage phase as it
enables sense-making of the data if future access is required. This included comprehensive
features including; Title, Creator, Unique Number Identifier, Key dates associated with the
data. Other aspects outlined were completed including all sources (citations) and the Field of
Research. Due to the data sensitivity, the data was classified as In-Confidence and Protected
Storing data correctly alleviates the possibility of unauthorized access or use (Curtin
University, 2018).

Results

The results indicate that in most cases parents had failed to make schools aware of their
adversity which was reflected in the responses to poor school support such as lack of tutoring
or extra-curricular activities. Provision of resources to children such as books, DVD’s etc were
also scaled very low with both parents and schools. Counselling was another area both with
parents and schools that had little support. All parents and most of the children recorded a
lack of learning about grief and loss at school. Most children across the year had attended
Brigitte Carter SN Assignment 2 Dr K.

school regularly but had developed behavioural problems with boys showing external
misbehaviours conducive to studies by Habibullah & Ashraf (2013, p. 47); and girls being
more - teary and depressed. This finding is conducive to previous findings by Worden, Davies
McCown (1999, p. 6). Parents recorded a lower level of sleeping issues than children. Coping
requires sleep (Curcio, Ferrara & Gennaro, 2006, p. 324) and plays an integral role in the
“learning processes and memory consolidation” (Smith, 2001; Hobson & Pace-Scott 2002
cited in Curcio et al.,2006, p. 324). Parents also scored their children as doing better in school
than the children did themselves.

The results show that over the year there was little or no improvement in parent or school
support. The academic performance of the cohort of students had continued to decline –
indicating the need for more robust communication between parents and schools. There also
needs to be programs and contingency plans in place.

Limitations

A comprehensive family assessment should include all siblings feedback within a family as
“each siblings relationship is unique (Machajewski & Kronk, 2013, p. 5)”. Parent and children
self-ratings were also subject to bias (Wong, Ho, Wong, Tung, Chow, Rao, Chars & Ip, 2018,
p. 1533). Limitations exist due to a lack of comparison with terminal illness or deaths where
the families have been prepared for death.

Longitudinal studies need to be across the life-span to get a more comprehensive evaluation
of the long-term impacts on academic performance due to sibling loss in the Primary School
years. The inclusion of the teacher or school and the use of academic results that compared
before and after the experience would be required in future research.

Action

The Principals requested that the information be summarized and added to their newsletter. A
Guideline for Primary Schools was also created to assist and guide Principals and staff with
children who have experienced the unexpected, sudden or ambiguous death of a sibling.
Brigitte Carter SN Assignment 2 Dr K.

References

Coulter, S. & Mooney, S. (2017). Much more Than PTSD: Mothers’ Narratives of the Impact of

Trauma on Child Survivors and Their Families. Contemporary Family Therapy. Vol. 40 (3).

Pp. 226-236. Accessed from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10591-017-9408-


z

Crehan, G. (2004). The Surviving Sibling: The Effects of Sibling Death in Childhood.
Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. Vol. 18 (2). Pp. 202-219. Accessed from https://www-
tandfonline-com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/doi/abs/10.1080/14749730410001700723

Curcio, G., Ferrara, M. & De Gennaro, L. (2006). Sleep loss, learning capacity and academic

performance. Sleep Medicine Reviews. Vol 10. Pp. 323-337. Accessed from https://www-
sciencedirect-com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/science/article/pii/S1087079205001231

Curtin University. (2018). Research data management: Data management plan. Accessed
from http://libguides.library.curtin.edu.au/c.php?g=202401&p=1333108

Department of Education. (2018). Policies. Government of Western Australia Retrieved from


http://det.wa.edu.au/policies/detcms/policy-planning-and-accountability/policies-
framework/policies/research-conducted-on-department-of-education-sites-by-external-
parties.en?bbp.9.policyID=21728665&bbp.s=10&bbp.e=select&bbp.10.pane=7&bbp.v=3&bbp.
i=d0.b.1.6.1&g11n.enc=UTF-8#Participation%20and%20consent

Fletcher, J., Mailick, M., Song, J. & Wolfe, B. (2013). A Sibling death in the Family: Common

and Consequential. Demography, Vol. 50 (3). Pp. 803-826. Accessed from https://www-jstor-
org.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/stable/42919901?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Gibbons, M. B. (1992). A Child Dies; A Child Survives. Journal of Pediatric Health Care. Vol. 6
(2), pp. 65-72. Accessed from https://ac-els-cdn-
com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/089152459290123L/1-s2.0-089152459290123L-
main.pdf?_tid=b0021770-4e6a-4db7-b54d-
8f6e964fe78b&acdnat=1534564591_b0d51a441146bc032060196617e91981 Hall, C. (2011).

Hall, C (2011). Beyond Kubler-Ross: Recent developments in our understanding of grief and
bereavement. Australian Psychological Society. Accessed from
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https://www.psychology.org.au/for-members/publications/inpsych/2011/dec/Beyond-Kubler-
Ross-Recent-developments-in-our-und

Habibullah, S. & Ashraf, J. (2013). Factors Affecting Academic Performance of Primary School
Children. Pakistan Journal of Medical Research. Vol. 52 (2). Pp. 47-52. Accessed from
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com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/docview/1448795155?rfr_id=info%3Axri%2Fsid%3Aprimo

Machajewski, V. & Kronk, R. (2013). Childhood Grief Related to the Death of a Sibling. The
Journal for Nurse Practitioners. Vol. 9 (7). Pp. 443-448. Accessed from https://www-
sciencedirect-com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/science/article/pii/S1555415513001773

McCown, D. E. & Pratt, C. (1985). Impact of sibling death on children’s behavior. Death
Studies,
Vol. 9 (3-4). Pp 323-335. Accessed from https://www-tandfonline-
com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/doi/pdf/10.1080/07481188508252527?needAccess=true

McCown, D. E. & Davies, B. (1995). Patterns of grief in young children following the death of a
sibling. Death Studies. Vol. 19 (1). Pp. 41-53. Accessed from https://www-tandfonline-
com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/doi/pdf/10.1080/07481189508252712?needAccess=true

Morris, A. T., Cabert-Quillen, C., Friebert, S. Carst, N. & Delahanty, D. L. (2016). The Indirect
Effect of Positive Parenting on the Relationship Between Parent and Sibling Bereavement
Outcomes After the Death of a Child. Journal of Pain & Symptom Management, Vol. 51 (1).
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Murray, J. S. (2001). Social Support for School-Aged Siblings of Children With Cancer: A
Comparison between Parent and Sibling Perceptions. Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing.
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National Health and Medical Research Council. (2018). National Statement on Ethical
Conduct in Human Research. Accessed from
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Patterson, C. (2015). Creating Complementary Understandings Through Narrative &


Phenomenological Injury. Australian Association for Research in Education.
https://www.aare.edu.au/publications-database.php/10137/creating-complementary-
understandings-through-narrative-and-phenomenological-inquiry

Tan, T. X., Wang, Y. & Ruggerio, A. D. (2017). Childhood Adversity and Children’s Academic
Functioning: Roles of parenting Stress and Neighborhood Support. Journal of Child & Family
Studies. Vol. 26. Pp. 2742-2752. Accessed from https://link-springer-
com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/article/10.1007/s10826-017-0775-8

Wong, R. S. M., Ho, F. K. W., Wong, W. H. S., Tung, K. T. S., Chow, C. B., Rao, N., Chan, K.

L. & Ip, P. Parental Involvement in Primary School Education: It’s Relationship with

Children’s Academic Performance and Psychosocial Competence through Engaging Children

with school. Journal of Child & Family Studies. (2018). Vol. 27. Pp. 1544-1555. Accessed

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Worden, W. J., Davies, B. & McCown, D. (1999). Comparing Parent Loss with Sibling Loss.
Death Studies. Vol 23 (1), pp. 1-15. Accessed from https://search-proquest-
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382
Brigitte Carter SN Assignment 2 Dr K.

RESEARCH TIMELINE 2018-2020 Curtin University LOGO Ethics Approval 1

9/9/18
29/7/18 3/9/18 26/8/18
4. Prepare hypothetical 14/10/18
research: Research
2018 1.Idea for
literature review:
2. Idea approved:
Research to
3. Literature
Review
ethics and requirements 5. Hypothetical
Research:
Submitted to for under-taking research
commence - 25 Complete – A1 Document submitted
lecturer for review project, questions for
Peer-Reviewed Submitted for marking A2
research, methodology,
articles to be
analysis, action
reviewed

21/10/18

11. 25/10/18 21-23/10/18


23/11/18 28/10/18 18/10/18
Application 26/10/18
26/10/18 8.Contact 7. Contact
13.Applications 12.Research submitted to
University University to 6. Initial contact of
submitted to proposal researcher’s 10. Idea 9.Complete
Counsellor: create a data interest with
HREO, parallel Head of peer Risk
approved: regarding management potential
with DOE, Humanities to School/Area: reviewed Management
forms participation plan: Data participants:
CEWA forward Review of
in Risk storage Telephone
research
Management application
proposal

15/1/19 6/2/19 13/2/19 20/2/19 27/2/19


14. Written 27/1/19 16. 17. Letter and 18. Letter and 19. Series 1 begins:
2019 approvals
received
15. Participation
Survey: Forms sent
Participation
surveys
consent forms sent
out
consent forms
returned -
Questionnaires sent
out
returned: analysed
HREO,
Analysed and
potential
participants
21-25/3/19 6/3/19
23/6/19 17/6/19 identified 12-14/3/19
10/6/19 22. 20.Questionnaire
26. Phone 25.Questionnaire 1-4/4/19 21. Phone
Interviews: s returned
survey s returned 24. Series 2 survey
Data analysed
questions: begins: 23. Peer and recorded questions:
Data Questionnaires review of Data analysed
analysed sent out project 1/4/20
9/7/19 17-19/10/19
30/6/19-2/7/19 26- Research complete
28. Research 12/10/19 Phone 30/11/19
27. Interviews; 5/10/19 Principals seminar/
peer-reviewed Surveys -
analysed 30.Questionnaires Interviews Guidelines
analysis
29. Series 3 begins:
Questionnaires sent out
returned - analysis 2020 PD’s
Brigitte Carter SN Assignment 2 Dr K.

APPENDIX 2 BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Full Project Title Does the Sudden, Unexpected or Ambiguous Death of a Sibling Affect
the Academic Performance of a Child in the Primary School Years?

Short Name by which the Assignment Two


project will be known

Name of Principal Researcher Brigitte Carter


Position Lecturer
Academic Qualifications Bachelor of Education; Masters Degree
Postal Address PO Box 111, Beesley,WA 6210
Telephone Number 0005625247
Email Address brigittecaretr@staff.curtin.edu.au

Organisation or institution Curtin University


through which the research
is to be conducted (if any)

Date of the approval from the 15th January, 2019


relevant ethics committee(s)
or sponsoring and/or
administering institution(s)

If this study is to contribute Brigitte Carter


towards an academic PhD Education
qualification, indicate for
whom and which
qualification

RESEARCH PROJECT

Indicate the proposed date of 27th January, 2019


commencement of the project

Indicate the proposed March 2020


completion date of the project
Brigitte Carter SN Assignment 2 Dr K.

Please indicate the source of Self-funded


funding for the research

Have you approached any Dr Mary Smart


Department Staff in the
planning stages of the project?
If yes, who?

Please briefly indicate: AIMS


 the aims of the study;
 the education/training/ To find out how parents and primary schools can work together
community benefits; and to support children, so they function and achieve to the best of
 the intended beneficiaries their ability in the academic arena after a sibling dies. To provide
of the research. schools with guidelines on how students needs may better be
addressed. To promote a cohesion between parents, students
and schools so that the impact on academic performance is
minimalised as much as possible.

BENEFITS
Assists teachers and parents in understanding what children are
going through when grieving the loss of a sibling and how they
can help them cope so that their academic performance is not
affected.
Can also assist schools and families in dealing with other forms
of loss
Helps students from falling behind in their schoolwork after the
loss of a sibling.
Long-term benefits are that a supported child is more likely to
have a productive and positive future.

BENEFICIARIES

Children and families who have a child in the Primary School


years. Primary Schools who can adequately support the needs of
a child who has lost a sibling.
The wider community.
Educational institutions and communities.
Brigitte Carter SN Assignment 2 Dr K.

SECTION 3: METHODOLOGY

Participants and Consent


Participants are seven parents and seven children.
Please indicate:
 Who the participants are Participants recruited through interested family, friends and
(Students, parents and/or acquaintances.
teachers, age or year level
etc.) Telephone to discuss research idea and interest.
 Number of participants
 How participants will be Written survey interest form, background sheet and consent
recruited forms mailed to potential participant – returned in stamped self-
 How informed, written addressed envelope.
consent to participate will
be obtained

Data Collection
1. Parent participants will be mailed a questionnaire to complete
Please indicate: in their home (see Appendix).
 What participants will be Child participants will complete a questionnaire in their home (see
required to do as part of Appendix).
the project These will be returned in a stamped self-addressed envelope.
 How long it will take, and 2. Parent participants will answer survey questions via
where and when this will researcher telephoning them (see Appendix).
occur 3. Parent participants will be part of an interview lasting
 What data collection tools approximately 30 min per person.
will be used (please
provide copies of these Data collection tools are the questionnaires, surveys and interview
tools) questions.
 How data will be recorded All data will be recorded in a written form.
(e.g. written, audio, video .
etc.)
 If any other data will be
used (e.g. student records
etc.) and how these data
will be obtained

Risks and Safeguards

Please indicate: Risks are trauma - related to the questions or discussion about
 If there are any risks the deceased.
involved in participation
 If there are risks involved, Safeguards in place are the University Counsellor has agreed to
what safeguards are in be available to the participants if required.
place to respond to these
risks
Brigitte Carter SN Assignment 2 Dr K.

Data Confidentiality and


Storage Researcher will create a Data Management Plan conducive to the
requirements of the institution and its governing bodies. As the research
was conducted by a staff member of the University – protocol is followed
Please indicate: - and the data stored within the University. The researcher submits a
 How the confidentiality of Research Project Data Storage Request and completes the required
participants will be ensured essential elements of storage – this is an essential component of the
 Where data will be stored storage phase as it enables sense-making of the data if future access is
and who will have access required. This included comprehensive features including; Title, Creator,
to it Unique Number Identifier, Key dates associated with the data. Other
aspects outlined were completed including all sources (citations) and the
 When and how data will be
Field of Research. Due to the data sensitivity, the data was classified as
destroyed In-Confidence and Protected Storing data correctly alleviates the
possibility of unauthorized access or use. After five years the data will be
destroyed.

Any Additional Information

Please provide any further


information about your
methodology that you think may
assist us in reviewing your
application.

SECTION 4: DISSEMINATION OF RESULTS

How will the results of the study be


published and disseminated e.g.
publication in journal, newsletter, The research data will be presented by the researcher as a
other? speaker at Principals Conference on Childhood Adversities.

Please Note: A results summary will be published in a Principals Newsletter


If photos, video or audio recordings with a link to the Curtin University: Humanities publication site.
are to be used for publication or
Brigitte Carter SN Assignment 2 Dr K.

made publicly available in any way Principals will prepare a PD for all staff within their school.
you must provide an appropriate
consent form for participants.

Is there any additional information There is limited research available in the area of sibling loss in
you would like to provide in the primary school years. Much of the research to date on the
support of your application? loss of a child is related to adolescence and parents. Where there
is also limited research is in the area of how children in primary
school are impacted and the spill-over effects to their academic
performance. What is an issue for educators is not knowing if a
child is going through this experience – and more specifically
what are the impacts at a developmental stage. If communication
opportunities can be developed between parents and the school
the outcome can only be positive for the child and their academic
performance.

PRIMARY PARTIES

Signature of Principal Researcher (as indicated in Section 1)


Name Brigitte Carter
Signature bmcarter
Date

Supervisor
Name Martin King
Qualifications / Position Associate Professor
Address
Email
Telephone
Date
Signature

Details and Signature of Associate Researcher or Supervisor


Name
Qualifications / Position
Address
Email
Telephone
Date
Signature
Appendix 3 Participant Survey CURTIN LOGO
Ethics Approval Number
111
Dear Parent/ Caregiver,

My name is Brigitte Carter and I am conducting research on “The Impact of Sudden,


Unexpected or Ambiguous Sibling Death on the Academic Performance of a Primary School
Child (7-12 years)”, as part of my PhD studies with Curtin University and am seeking
participants who can assist me in the research. My research study has been approved by the
Human Research Ethics Office which oversees the ethics, integrity and performance of all
research at Curtin University. There are stringent processes in place for the safety of all
human beings involved which MUST be adhered to before, during and after a research study.
The research includes obtaining highly sensitive information and it is done with the utmost
integrity, confidentiality and respect for individuals, their families and cultures. The research
will consist of a questionnaire, a telephone questionnaire and a face to face interview to be
held at a designated venue – dates to be advised.

Q. 1. Are you interested in participating in the research study?


YES NO

Q. 2. Is the other parent/caregiver in your home interested in participating in the research?


YES NO

Q. 3. Are you interested in your child participating in the research?


YES NO

What is your preferred contact telephone number?


_____________________________________
Please note: If you have agreed to participate in this research study, you will be provided with
a consent letter which MUST be completed by each participant to participate in the research.
This letter will be sent to your home with a return date - WITH the questionnaire - which you
are asked to complete individually (without discussing with any other member of the research
- the questions or answers).

19
Appendix 4
Information Letter Parents – Child and Individual Participation

Curtin University Letterhead


Ethics approval no. 1111

Dear Parent/Carer

Does the sudden, unexpected or ambiguous death of a sibling impact the academic
performance of a child in the Primary School years?

My name is Brigitte Maree Carter and I am writing to you on behalf of Curtin University. I am conducting
a research project that aims to provide educators and significant others with insight and understanding
on how the sudden, unexpected or ambiguous death of a sibling can affect a child’s academic
performance in the Primary School years. The research aims to find out how parents and primary
schools support impacts the child’s academic performance and how they can subsequently work
together to support children, so they are able to function in a positive way in the academic arena after a
sibling dies. The research also aims to provide schools with guidelines on how student’s needs may be
addressed after a sibling dies. The research aims to promote a cohesion between parents, students
and schools so that adverse impacts on academic performance are minimalised. The project is being
conducted as part of a PhD at Curtin University.

I would like to invite you and your child to take part in the project. This is because gaining a deeper
understanding of the impact of sudden, unexpected or ambiguous sibling loss has on a child may assist
with monitoring and understanding the impact on academic performance. You and five other families
have volunteered to participate. As it is a longitudinal research study it will require your commitment in
three time blocks over a 12 month period.
.

What does participation in the research project involve?


Your child is invited to participate in completing a questionnaire which will be sent to your home – this
should take approximately 20-30 minutes. Your child will be asked to repeat this process three times -
in a 12-month period.

Also, you are invited to participate in;


- Completing a Questionnaire in your home - three times within a 12 month time-frame – approx.
30 min..
- Answering Survey questions three times in a 12-month period – approx. 10 minutes.
- Interviewed three times in a 12-month time period. Approx. 30 min.

Do my child and I have to take part?


No. Participation in this research project is entirely voluntary. This decision should always be made
completely freely. All decisions made will be respected by members of the research team without
question.

Your child has also been provided with a letter from us that we encourage you to discuss with him/her.

What if either of us was to change our mind?

Participation in this research project is entirely voluntary.

If any member of a participant group decides to participate and then later changes their mind, they are
able to withdraw their participation at any time up until the end of the data collection period. Once the
data collection period is complete, data will be used for analysis and representation.

20
There will be no consequences relating to any decision by an individual regarding participation, other
than those already described in this letter. Decisions made will not affect the relationship with the
researcher or Curtin University.

What will happen to the information collected, and is privacy and confidentiality assured?
Information that identifies anyone will be removed from the data collected. The data is then stored
securely in the Curtin University secure vaults and can only be accessed by myself or the Curtin
University ethics committee. The data will be stored for a minimum period of 5 years, after which it will
be destroyed as per University privacy and ethics, codes and protocols.

The identity of participants and the school will not be disclosed at any time, except in circumstances
that require reporting under the Child Protection policy, or where the research team is legally required
to disclose that information.
Participant privacy, and the confidentiality of information disclosed by participants, is assured at all
other times.

The data will be used only for this project and will not be used in any extended or future research
without first obtaining the appropriate ethics requirements and explicit written consent from participants.

A summary of the research findings will be made available to the Curtin University Ethics Committee,
Curtin University Humanities Division and each of the participating families. You can expect this to be
available in April, 2020.

It is intended that the findings of this study will be examined by the University Ethics Committee and
Humanities Department. A summary of the research findings will also be made available upon
completion of the project. You can access this by contacting the Ethics Humanities Department and
expect it to become available in April, 2020.

Is this research approved? The research has been approved by Curtin University Human Research
Ethics Office; Ethics approval Number 1111 and has met the requirements of the Research Ethics of
Curtin University.

“How do I know that the people involved in this research have all the appropriate
documentation to be working with children?”
Under the Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004, people undertaking work (or
researchin Western Australia that involves contact with children must undergo a Working with Children
Check. The researcher must submit current WWCC documentation as part of Ethics application and
approval through Curtin University.

Who do I contact if I wish to discuss the project further?


If you would like to discuss any aspect of this study with a member of the research team, please
contact me on the number provided below. If you wish to speak with an independent person about how
the project is being conducted or was conducted, please contact Curtin University: Dr Mary Smart
025478963
How do my child and I become involved?
Please ensure that you:
 discuss what it means to take part in the project with your child before you both make a
decision; and
 take up my invitation to ask any questions you may have about the project.
Once all questions have been answered to your satisfaction, and you and your child are both willing for
him/her to become involved, please complete the Consent Form on the following page (your child is
also asked to complete the Consent Form attached to his/her letter).

This project information letter is for you to keep.


Brigitte Maree Carter
Researcher
Curtin University
PO Box 222, Beerley WA
Contact number: 0254789653

21
APPENDIX 5 Consent Form for Parents – Child and Individual Participation

Curtin University
Ethics Approval No. 1111
Consent Form

 I have read and understood the information letter about the project or have had it
explained to me in language I understand.

 I have taken up the invitation to ask any questions that I may have had and am
satisfied with the answers I received.

 I understand that participation in the project is entirely voluntarily.

 I understand what it means for me to participate in this project.

 I have discussed with my child what it means to participate in this project. He/she has
explicitly indicated a willingness to take part, as indicated by his/her completion of the
child consent form.

 I understand that both my child and I are free to withdraw that participation at any time
without affecting the family’s relationship with the researcher or University.

 I understand that I am free to withdraw my participation at any time throughout the


data collection period.

 I give permission for the contribution that my child or I make to this research to be
published in a journal, provided that my child, other members of my family and I are
not identified in any way.

 I understand that I can request a summary of findings after the research has been
completed.

Consent for my child to participate in the research project

 I am willing for my child to become involved in the project, as described.

Name of Child (printed):

Name of Parent/Carer (printed):

Signature of Parent: Date: / /

Consent to participate in the research project

 I am willing to become involved in the research project, as described.

Name of Parent/Carer (printed):

Signature of Parent: Date: / /

22
APPENDIX 6 Curtin University
Ethics Approval No. 1111 Information Sheet for Older Primary School Children

Dear Student

My name is Brigitte Carter and I am from Curtin University. I would like to invite you to take
part in a research project that I am doing. It is about how when a brother or sister dies it can
affect your academic performance and how parents and schools can best support children
who have had this happen to them.

I am asking for your help with the project because you have had a brother or sister who has
died and I need information from you to help with my research. I will be asking 6 other children
and families to become involved.

What would I be asked to do?


If you agree to take part, you would be asked to complete a questionnaire three times in the
year. It should take about 20 – 30 minutes. The questions will be sent to your home and then
your parents will send them back to me. When you answer the questions, you will be asked to
do this by yourself.

Do I have to take part?


No. You are completely free to say yes or no. I will respect your decision whichever choice
you make.

What if I wanted to change my mind?


If you say no, but then change your mind and want to take part, please let your parent know.

You can stop at any time, even if you have said yes. Just let your mum (or dad, or the person
who looks after you) know, and they will tell me.
You can withdraw from the research at any time during the data collection period.

What if I say something during the project that I don’t want anyone else to know?
I may have to tell someone like your parents if you tell me that you have been hurt by
someone lately. But for all other things you tell me, I won’t repeat them to anyone else.

What will you do with the information I give you?


I collect what each student has given to the project, and then I will be speaking about it at a
seminar. When I do this, I won’t write or tell anyone your name or your families name.

How do I get involved?


You have already talked with your mum or dad, or the person who looks after you, about what
it means to take part in the project. Now you get to say for yourself.

If you do want to be a part of the project, please read the next page and write your name in
the space provide
This letter is for you to keep.

Brigitte Maree Carter


Researcher
Curtin University
PO Box 222, Beerley WA
Contact number: 0254789653

23
APPENDIX 7
Curtin University
Ethics Approval No. 1111 Consent Form for Older Primary School Children (10-12)

 I know that I don’t have to be involved in this project, but I would like to be.

 I know that I will be doing three questionnaires as part of the project.

 I know that I can stop when I want to.

 I can withdraw from the research at any time in the data collection period.

 I understand that I need to write my name in the space below, before I can be a
part of the project.

Your name: Today’s Date: / /

24
APPENDIX 8 Curtin University Logo
Ethics Approval No. 1111 Information Sheet for Young Children (7-9)

Hello,

My name is Brigitte Carter. I have a project that you might like to help me with.

The project is about getting to know how I can help children with their
schoolwork after their brother or sister has died.

Would you like to help me for about 20-30 minute three times in the year?

If you want to stop at any time, that’s OK, you can.

I won’t tell anyone what you say while helping me with the project, unless I
need to tell someone like your parents.

Your parents, or the person who looks after you, has talked with you about
helping with the project.

If you would like to help with the project, please print your name, draw a circle
around the word YES.

If you don’t want to help with the project – that’s OK too.

Brigitte Maree Carter


Researcher
Curtin University
PO Box 222, Beerley WA
Contact number: 0254789653

25
APPENDIX 9 Curtin University Logo
Ethics Approval No. 1111 Consent Form for Young Children

 I know I have a choice whether or not I want to do this project

 I know that I can stop whenever I want.

 I know that I will be doing [insert what the child is being asked to do] as
part of the project.

 I know that I need to print my name and draw a circle around the word YES
on this page before I can help with the project.

Circle Yes or No.

YES NO
I would like to help with I do not want to help
the project with the project

Write your name and the date.

Name of child: Today’s Date: / /

All letters and consent forms accessed through Department of Education


website.
Appendix 10 Parent/Caregiver Questionnaire

Dear Parent/Caregiver,
Thank you for agreeing to participate in the voluntary research study. The information you are
about to provide, as discussed in the consent letter, is bound by ethical and confidentiality
codes and practices. I appreciate and respect that some of the questions are sensitive, but I
ask that you take your time and answer them to assist in the research. If you require any
assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me on 0455 897123 between 7am and 7pm
WST
Parent/Caregiver Name: ________________________
Contact Telephone Number: ______________________
Please provide the information below using the child closest in age to the deceased who is in
the Primary School age range 7-12. If you do not have a child in this age range, please return
the questionnaire to the researcher ASAP.
Name of the child closest in age to the deceased _____________________

Please complete the questions below by writing in the space provided or by colouring the oval
shape with the correct response. Please choose only ONE oval.

Individual Characteristics
Q.1. What is your surname? _____________ Given Name _________________

Q.2. What is your gender? Male Female

Q.3. What is your relationship status?

Married Defacto Widowed Single Other

Q.4. What is your relationship to the surviving child?


Biological Step Adoptive Other

Q.5. What is the gender of the surviving child? Male Female

Q. 6. What is the gender of the deceased child? Male Female


Q.7. What is the age range of the sibling closest in age to the deceased?
7–9 10 -12

Q.8. What is the age range of the deceased sibling?


Under 1 year 1-3 4-6 years 7 - 9 years
10 - 12 years 13 and over

Q.9. How many children have you given birth to?


1 2 3 4 5 or more

Q.10. What was the birth placement of the deceased child (eg first born)?

7
First –
Second Third Fourth Fifth or
more 9
If fifth or more please state________________

Q.11. What is the placement of the sibling described in this questionnaire?

First Second Third Fourth Fifth or


more
If fifth or more please state ________________

Situational Characteristics
Q.1. What best describes the cause of death?
Accidental Homicide Ambiguous/Other
A
Medical Illness Suicide m
b
i
Q.2. Was the death of your child sudden or unexpected? g
u
Yes No o
A
m u
b s
Q.2. How long has it been since the death
i of your child? /
O
0-1 year V 1 -2 years g 2 -3 years 3 -4 years
u t
4 -5 years V More than 5 years h
o
u e
s r
/
28
O
t
h
Environmental Variables
Please respond to all questions by shading the oval shape with your response.

Q. 1. Prior to the death of their sibling – did your child have any learning difficulties?
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 2. Prior to the death of their sibling – did your child display any emotional difficulties?
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 3. Since the death of their sibling my child is often anxious, angry or frustrated.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q.4. Since the death of their sibling my child is often sad, depressed, withdrawn and teary.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 5. My child often has nightmares or can’t sleep because of the loss of their sibling.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 6. Since the death of their sibling, my child has developed behavior problems at home.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

29
Q. 7. Since the death of their sibling my child has received professional counselling.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 8. I have discussed with my child and they understand the finality of death.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 9. My child has been involved in all or most of the processes (searches, funerals,
memorials etc) related to the death of their sibling.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q.10. I have supported my child by helping them process and understand their feelings to do
with their grief.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q.11. I have alone time with my child each week and allow them to talk openly about how they
are feeling.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q.12. As a parent I have been able to support my child at home with their homework.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q.13. As a parent I have been able to support my child with their grieving.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q.14. As a parent I have been able to support my child with their schooling.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

30
Q. 15. I have provided my child with support materials on sibling loss (eg books, websites).

Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 16. Since the death of their sibling, my child has developed behavioral problems at school.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 17. Since the death of their sibling, my child has received counselling provided by the
school.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 18. Since the death of their sibling my child’s grades have got worse.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 19. Since the death of their sibling my child’s grades have improved.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q.20. Since the death of their sibling my child has trouble concentrating in class.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

31
Q. 21. My school has provided me with materials on sibling loss (eg books, websites).
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 22. Since the death of their sibling, the school has provided my child with tutoring or extra-
curricular schoolwork.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q.23. My child has academic goals for the future.


Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q.24. My child attends school on a regular basis.


Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q.25. My child’s school provides a positive, safe and productive classroom learning
environment.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q.26. Since the death of their sibling my child has problems with their working memory.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q.27. Since the death of their sibling my child has difficulties solving problems.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q.28. Since the death of their sibling my child does not self- monitor their schoolwork.

32
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q.29. Since the death of their sibling my child has become disinterested in their schoolwork.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q.30. Since the death of their sibling my child has had trouble listening.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Any other comments


__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
___

33
Appendix 11 Child Questionnaire

Thank you for agreeing to participate in this research study, I am very grateful to you and your
family. The information you are about to give me is very private and confidential which means
it can and will only be used by me for my research or given to a person involved in safety and
ethics - for your safety. I know that some of the questions may cause you to feel sad.
However, I ask that you take your time and answer them all to help with the research. If you
get upset and would like to speak to the University counsellor please have your parents
contact me on 0473038728.
You can stop any time you want to have a break. If the questions make you feel too sad then
you don’t have to answer them.
Your name________________________________
Your age ___________________
I would like you to answer the questions from since your sibling has died.
Q.1. My parents/carers support and understanding me.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q.2. My parents help me learn that it is okay to have fun and grow without feeling guilty.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q.3. My parents/carers give me alone time with them to talk openly about how I am feeling.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q.4. My parents/carers have provided me with support materials such as; books and CD’s
about grief.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q.5. I have had nightmares or trouble sleeping.


Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q.6. My parents/carers help me with my schoolwork/ homework.


Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

34
Q. 7. I have felt sad, anxious, angry or frustrated.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 8. I have felt withdrawn and teary.


Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 9. My behavior at home has got worse.


Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 10. I take responsibility for doing my homework.


Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 11. My school marks have got better.


Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 12. My school marks have got worse.


Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 13. My behavior at school has got worse.


Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 14. I have trouble concentrating at school.


Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

35
Q. 15. My school has given me books and resources to help me learn about grieving.
Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 16. At school we learn about grief and loss in class.


Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 17. I feel safe and protected at my school.


Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 18. I have academic goals for the future.


Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 19. At school I go to see the school counsellor to talk about my grief.


Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

Q. 20. I am happy being at school.


Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

APPENDIX 12 Parent Telephone Survey: Questions


Q.1. My child talks to me about problems at school.
Yes No Unsure

Q. 2. Did your child’s grades get worse after the death of their sibling?
Yes No Unsure

36
Q. 3. Have you arranged a meeting with the school to tell them about the loss of your child’s
sibling?
Yes No Unsure

Q. 4. Did your child return straight to school after the loss of their sibling?
Yes No Unsure

Q. 5. Has your child often been tired and lethargic from lack of sleep, since the loss of their
sibling?
Yes No Unsure

Q. 6. Does your child allow you to talk about the death of their sibling?
Yes No Unsure

Q. 7. Does your child understand the finality of death (as in their sibling will no longer be
physically present)?
Yes No Unsure
Q. 8. Did you inform the school about the death of your child and any subsequent absences?
Yes No Unsure

Q. 9. Did you discuss your child seeing a counsellor or other professional about their grief and
loss?
Yes No Unsure

Q. 10. Within your child’s school curriculum is there any program or class education which
addresses grief and loss?
Yes No Unsure
APPENDIX 13 Semi-structured Interview Questions

Q.1. Have you contacted the school to tell them about your child’s and family’s circumstances
regarding the death of your child’s sibling?
Why did you? – Please provide reasons
Why didn’t you? – Please provide reasons

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Q.2. Has the school offered support such as a mentoring or tutoring program to assist your
child in maintaining their academic progress before academic failure occurs?
How has this happened?
If not – what would you like to happen?

Q.3. Has the school provided your child with grief counselling - to teach them about the
normal signs of grief and trauma, so that your child can understand their own behavior?
If yes – how has this happened?
If not – what would you find beneficial for your child?

Q.4. Has your school connected with you and regularly checked on how your child is doing?
If yes-how?
If no – what would be beneficial?

Q.5. Has your school protected your child by having a contingency plan in place when they
are highly emotional or cry?
If yes – what do they do?
If no – what would best benefit your child?

Q. 6. In your opinion, what would you consider the most effective strategies to assist your
child and their academic performance since the death of their sibling? Please give details.

Q. 7. In your opinion, are there ways in which the school could have better supported your
child? Please give details.
Any other comments
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