Teenagers and traumatic Grief: Tina’s story

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By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Tina’s story is woven with ideas about teenage friendship, adolescent development, and traumatic grief to illuminate the unique, intense, and complex feelings that occur when teens grieve the tragic and violent death of a friend. Given what is known about the psychosocial importance of adolescent friendships and the high incidence of tragic and violent deaths of teenagers, there is notably little literature regarding adolescent grief and loss when a friend dies a tragic and violent death (J.A. Cohen et al., 2002; B.L. Green et al., 2001). With homicide, African American teens disproprtionately suffer the traumatic loss of friends compared to other ethnic/racial teen populations because homicide has been a leading cause of death for African American adolescent males. In 2003 I met Tina, a 16-year-old African American teenager, who within the 5 years prior to our meeting had lost an older sister and a close friend, Rick (age 17), in separate car accidents several years apart. However, it was her most recent loss, the murder of her friend Dante (age 21), about which Tina and I talked. Earlier that year, Dante was killed in a drive-by shooting on the streets of a large Northeastern city.

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