Two studies were undertaken to investigate grief in adults with learning difficulties. Study one involved the construction of an observer rated grief inventory which showed good reliability and certain aspects of validity. Using the grief inventory it was demonstrated that primary carers of learning disabled adult s perceived a significant change in clients post bereavement. There was no association between levels of expressive and receptive language or degree of dependency upon the deceased and grief inventory ratings. Similarly no differences were established on the basis of gender, expected/unexpected death, attendance/non attendance at funeral, maintenance/change of residence as a result of bereavement or presence/absence of religious beliefs. Qualitative data yielded significant information regarding specific types of observed changes in clients after bereavement and ways in which clients were perceived to communicate their grief. In Study Two, four recently bereaved adults with learning difficulties engaged with the researcher i n bereavement counselling over a ten week period. Carers completed the grief inventory on two occasions before counselling intervention, at two weekly interval s during intervention and at a two week follow up. Manova trend analysis indicated no significant change in clients’ grief inventory scores during this period. A structured interview on the concepts of death was completed before and after the intervention. All client s had some understanding of some concepts of death but there was a conspicuous difference between clients' scores. Clients' ratings on the interview before and after intervention were not statistically different. No relationship was found between scores on the concepts of death and grief inventory ratings. Finally a content analysis of three mid counselling sessions for each participant provide d some confirmation that bereaved adults with learning difficulties undergo a similar grief process to that described in the general population. Ideas for future research and implications for service delivery are discussed.

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