Resilient Parenting for Bereaved Families

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The Resilient Parenting for Bereaved Families (RPBF) Program is a 10-meeting group program designed to promote resilience of bereaved parents and their children following the death of a parent. The program does this by teaching practical tools for parents in the context of a warm and supportive group environment.

What research finds

This the most extensively evaluated program for parents supporting their children after the death of their spouse. Research over 25 years finds that the program reduces prolonged distressing grief and mental health problems for both children and parents up to six years later
What research finds

What parents and group leaders say

Group leaders report seeing remarkable changes in the parents in the program and are excited about their work in facilitating these changes. Parents report that they love the practical tools for self-care and parenting and the support they receive from each other.
What people are saying

Our story

We are psychologists at the REACH Institute at Arizona State University. Following our 25 years of research and over 30 published papers and chapter which demonstrated the extraordinary benefits of the program for bereaved children and their parents, we are now engaged in an exciting collaboration with bereavement agencies and bereaved parents to bring the program to the large number of bereaved families who could benefit from it. Outstanding bereavement service providers across the country helped us shape the program so that it could be practically delivered in community-based agencies. Bereaved parents who participated in the program attested to its benefits and brought numerous ideas about how to make the program better. 

To hear more about what parents say click here.

Positive Family Support

PUBLICATIONS

  • Sandler, I., Gunn, H., Mazza, G., Tein, J. Y., Wolchik, S., Kim, H., Ayers, T., & Porter, M. (in press). Three perspectives on mental health problems of young adults and their parents at a 15-year follow-up of the Family Bereavement Program. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.
  • Sandler, I., Tein, J. Y., Cham, H., Wolchik, S., & Ayers, T. (2016). Long-term effects of the Family Bereavement Program on spousally-bereaved parents: Grief, mental health, alcohol problems and coping efficacy. Development and Psychopathology, 28, 801-818. doi:10.1017/S0954579416000328
  • Sandler, I., Tein, J. Y., Wolchik, S. A., & Ayers, T. (2016). The effects of the Family Bereavement Program to reduce suicide ideation and/or attempts of parentally bereaved children six and fifteen years later. Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior, 46, S32-S38. DOI: 10.1111/sltb.12256
  • Luecken, L. J., Hagan, M. J., Sandler, I. N., Tein, J.-Y., Ayers, T. S., & Wolchik, S. A. (2014). Longitudinal mediators of a randomized prevention program effect on cortisol for youth from parentally bereaved families. Prevention Science, 15(2), 224-232. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11121-013-0385-7
  • Ayers, T. S., Wolchik, S. A., Sandler, I. N., Twohey, J. L., Weyer, J. L., Padgett-Jones, S., Weiss, L.  Cole, E. & Kriege, G. (2014). The Family Bereavement Program: description of a theory-based prevention program for parentally-bereaved children and adolescents. Omega, 68(4), 293-314.
  • Sandler, I. N., Wolchik, S. A., Ayers, T. S., Tein, J. Y. & Luecken, L. (2013). Family Bereavement Program (FBP)  approach to promoting resilience following the death of a parent. Family Science, 4, 2013. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19424620.2013.821763
  • Schoenfelder, E. N., Sandler, I. N., Millsap, R. E., Wolchik, S. A., Berkel, C., & Ayers, T. S. (2013). Caregiver responsiveness to the family bereavement program: What predicts responsiveness? What does responsiveness predict? Prevention Science. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11121-012-0337-7
  • Luecken, L. J., Hagan, M. J., Sandler, I. N., Tein, J.-Y., Ayers, T. S., & Wolchik, S. A. (2013). Longitudinal mediators of a randomized prevention program effect on cortisol for youth from parentally bereaved families. Prevention Science. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11121-013-0385-7
  • Hagan, M. J., Tein, J.-Y., Sandler, I. N., Wolchik, S. A., Ayers, T. S., & Luecken, L. J. (2012). Strengthening effective parenting practices over the long term: Effects of a preventive intervention for parentally bereaved families. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 41(2), 177-188. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15374416.2012.651996
  • Schoenfelder, E. N., Sandler, I. N., Wolchik, S., & MacKinnon, D. (2011). Quality of social relationships and the development of depression in parentally-bereaved youth. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40(1), 85-96. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10964-009-9503-z
  • Ayers, T. S., Kondo, C. C., & Sandler, I. N. (2011). Bridging the gap: Translating a research-based program into an agency-based service for bereaved children and families Grief and bereavement in contemporary society: Bridging research and practice. (pp. 117-135): Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, New York, NY.
  • Sandler, I. N., Ma, Y., Tein, J.-Y., Ayers, T. S., Wolchik, S., Kennedy, C., & Millsap, R. (2010). Long-term effects of the family bereavement program on multiple indicators of grief in parentally bereaved children and adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(2), 131-143. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0018393
  • Sandler, I., Ayers, T. S., Tein, J.-Y., Wolchik, S., Millsap, R., Khoo, S. T., . . . Coxe, S. (2010). Six-year follow-up of a preventive intervention for parentally bereaved youths: a randomized controlled trial. Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine, 164(10), 907-914. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.173
  • Luecken, L. J., Hagan, M. J., Sandler, I. N., Tein, J.-Y., Ayers, T. S., & Wolchik, S. A. (2010). Cortisol levels six-years after participation in the Family Bereavement Program. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 35(5), 785-789. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2009.11.002
  • Wolchik, S. A., Coxe, S., Tein, J. Y., Sandler, I. N., & Ayers, T. S. (2009). Six-year longitudinal predictors of posttraumatic growth in parentally bereaved adolescents and young adults. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 58(2), 107-128. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2190/OM.58.2.b
  • Wolchik, S. A., Ma, Y., Tein, J.-Y., Sandler, I. N., & Ayers, T. S. (2008). Parentally bereaved children's grief: Self-system beliefs as mediators of the relations between grief and stressors and caregiver-child relationship quality. Death Studies, 32(7), 597-620. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07481180802215551
  • Sandler, I. N., Wolchick, S. A., Ayers, T. S., Tein, J. Y., Coxe, S., & Chow, W. (2008). Linking theory and intervention to promote resilience in parentally bereaved children. In M. Stroebe & W. Stroebe (Eds.), Handbook of Bereavement Research and Practice: Advances in Theory and Intervention (pp. 531-551). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Haine, R. A., Ayers, T. S., Sandler, I. N., & Wolchik, S. A. (2008). Evidence-based practices for parentally bereaved children and their families. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 39(2), 113-121. doi: 10.1037/0735-7028.39.2.113
  • Foster, E., Porter, M. M., Ayers, T. S., Kaplan, D. L., & Sandler, I. (2007). Estimating the Costs of Preventive Interventions. Evaluation Review, 31(3), 261-286. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0193841X07299247
  • Wolchik, S. A., Tein, J.-Y., Sandler, I. N., & Ayers, T. S. (2006). Stressors, quality of the child-caregiver relationship, and children's mental health problems after parental death: The mediating role of self-system beliefs. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 34(2), 221-238.
  • Tein, J.-Y., Sandler, I. N., Ayers, T. S., & Wolchik, S. A. (2006). Mediation of the effects of the Family Bereavement Program on mental health problems of bereaved children and adolescents. Prevention Science, 7(2), 179-195.
  • Schmiege, S. J., Khoo, S. T., Sandler, I. N., Ayers, T. S., & Wolchick, S. A. (2006). Symptoms of internalizing and externalizing problems: Modeling recovery curves after the death of a parent. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 31(6 Suppl 1), S152-160.
  • Haine, R. A., Wolchik, S. A., Sandler, I. N., Millsap, R. E., & Ayers, T. S. (2006). Positive parenting as a protective resource for parentally bereaved children. Death Studies, 30(1), 1-28.
  • Sandler, I., Kennedy, C., Balk, D., Jordan, J., Nadeau, J., & Shapiro, E. (2005). Bridging the Gap between Research and Practice in Bereavement: Report from the Center for the Advancement of Health. Death Studies, 29(2), 93-122.
  • Kwok, O.-M., Haine, R. A., Sandler, I. N., Ayers, T. S., Wolchik, S. A., & Tein, J.-Y. (2005). Positive Parenting as a Mediator of the Relations Between Parental Psychological Distress and Mental Health Problems of Parentally Bereaved Children. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34(2), 260-271.
  • Lin, K. K., Sandler, I. N., Ayers, T. S., Wolchik, S. A., & Luecken, L. J. (2004). Resilience in parentally bereaved children and adolescents seeking preventive services. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33(4), 673-683. doi: 10.1207/s15374424jccp3304_3
  • Sandler, I. N., Ayers, T. S., Wolchik, S. A., Tein, J. Y., Kwok, O. M., Haine, R. A., . . . Griffin, W. A. (2003). The Family Bereavement Program: Efficacy evaluation of a theory-based prevention program for parentally bereaved children and adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71(3), 587-600.
  • Ayers, T. S., Kennedy, C. L., Sandler, I. N., & Stokes, J. (2003). Bereavement, Adolescence. In M. Bloom & T. P. Gullotta (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Primary Prevention and Health Promotion (pp. 221-229). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.
  • Sandler, I. N., Ayers, T. S., & Romer, A. L. (2002). Fostering resilience in families in which a parent has died. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 5(6), 945-956. doi: 10.1089/10966210260499195
  • West, S. G., Sandler, I., Pillow, D. R., Baca, L., & Gersten, J. C. (1991). The use of structural equation modeling in generative research: Toward the design of a preventive intervention for bereaved children. Special Issue: Preventive Intervention Research Centers. American Journal of Community Psychology, 19(4), 459-480.