“I have lost my second parent”: developmental and cultural meanings of bereavement among turkish college students grieving for the death of a grandparent

Karabayır A., Ar Karcı Y.

Current Psychology, vol.42, no.32, pp.28417-28430, 2023 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 42 Issue: 32
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s12144-022-03948-5
  • Journal Name: Current Psychology
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, IBZ Online, BIOSIS, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.28417-28430
  • Keywords: Grieving college students, Grandparental loss, Grief and bereavement, Interpretative phenomenological analysis, Culture
  • TED University Affiliated: Yes


Grandparental loss might be an emotionally challenging experience in cultures where intergenerational connectedness and family harmony are highly valued. Given the developmental changes college students go through, grandparental loss might impose unique challenges in non-Western contexts, where grandparents are usually regarded as part of the nuclear family. Nevertheless, prior studies on this topic have been limited to the Western context. The current study aimed to examine the impact of grandparental loss on Turkish college students from a developmental and cultural perspective. Accordingly, semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven bereaved college students. The obtained data were analyzed through interpretative phenomenological analysis because of the context-dependent and relational nature of the bereavement experience. Five super-ordinate themes emerged: (1) “I have lost my second mother/father” (i.e., grandparental loss perceived as parental loss), (2) first contact with death as a transformative experience, (3) ambivalence regarding death-related rituals, (4) grandparental loss as a dual grief process, and (5) university as a barrier and shelter during the grieving process. The findings were discussed in line with the relevant literature employing both a developmental and culture-sensitive perspective.