Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Fall 2023

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Family and Consumer Sciences

Committee Chair

Amy Claridge

Second Committee Member

Katy Tenhulzen

Third Committee Member

Sarah Feeney


Grief can encompass many types of loss, such as losing a job, moving to a new state, or changing careers, and it can affect socioemotional, behavioral, and physical aspects of daily living (Brenn et al., 2020; Favazza & Munson, 2010). Previous research has shown that the process of grief is largely misunderstood in the United States, and misconceptions of the grief and loss process can lead to perpetuated incorrect beliefs, maladaptive coping, and incorrect medical treatment (McLean et al., 2022; Sawyer et al., 2021). The term grief literacy encompasses the knowledge and engagement with topics surrounding grief and loss (Breen et al., 2020). There is minimal information about grief literacy in the parent population and how grief literacy may translate into parents’ support of their children during the time of a loss. The current study aimed to expand knowledge about this population and how grief literacy applies to them and their conversations with their children. This study found that grief literacy levels amidst a sample of 94 parents in the United States were moderately high. The comfort levels when talking to their child during the time of a loss were also moderately high. These results contradict previous research about understanding of grief in the United States. Grief literacy was found to be made up of two constructs that were not correlated: grief knowledge and grief engagement. The only significant correlation of the two constructs was found between grief engagement and parents’ comfort talking to their child during a time of a loss. Reports of grief engagement were also significantly higher between the group of parents who had prior education, training, and/or job experience with grief topics and the group of parents who did not. Further research is needed with a more diverse sample to identify components of grief knowledge and engagement in the United States and how grief literacy is different for the parent population.