Grief responses of pediatric house officers to a patient's death

Death Stud. 1987;11(3):169-76. doi: 10.1080/07481188708252189.


Twenty-five pediatric house officers were surveyed (14 M; 11 F) to assess their behavioral and psychophysiologic responses to patient death. Vignettes about the deaths of two pediatric patients were included as part of a self-administered questionnaire. The vignettes were followed by 14 behavioral and 20 psychophysiologic responses to the deaths depicted, and physicians were asked to indicate the expected occurrence of these reactions for themselves and for an ideal physician. Reported reactions were found to be similar to grief responses experienced with the death of a loved one. Significant differences were found between the responses of female and male house officers to patient death. Additionally, differences were found between the manner in which the physicians personally responded to a patient's death in comparison to the way they considered an ideal physician would respond. Practical suggestions are given, based on these data, for inclusion of information in death education courses for physicians.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Death*
  • Behavior
  • Child
  • Female
  • Grief*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Pediatrics*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States