“I think it was the first time in my life I properly did not care about assignments” Exploring the Impact of Bereavement in a Student Population: An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis
Loss can be traumatic at any point in life; however, it may have more severe consequences when experienced by young adults (Arellano, Graham & Sauerheber, 2018). During individuals’ time at university, the consequences of bereavement may cause negative social, personal and academic implications, - ultimately affecting students’ overall experience of university (Sevaty-Seib & Hamilton, 2006). Three participants were recruited from the population of Edinburgh based university students; each was interviewed about their personal experience with bereavement. Participants had each lost a close friend or parent during their enrolment at university. Data was audio recorded and transcribed as necessary. Following transcription, data was analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) in order to gain an understanding of the individuals’ personal experience of bereavement and the impact of this on their university experience. Analysis of the data resulted in the identification of three main themes, namely Initial Responses to Loss, Impact of Loss and Outcome Following Loss. The results revealed several subthemes, which aid in the understanding of shared elements in the participants’ individual attempt to understand and make sense of their experience of bereavement. This information could be used to further support students going though bereavement. This study bridges a gap in literature by employing qualitative methods to gain insight into the impact and understanding of the lived experience of bereavement among University students in Edinburgh.