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English Summaries (03/2019)

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Lotta-Maija Tiikkainen & Anna Liisa Aho

Grief after parental death in young adulthood

Parental death during adulthood is considered an expected life event, but little is known about the grief it causes. The death of a parent often happens after a descendant has already settled down. Sometimes parental death occurs during the delicate independency process. Parental loss during young adulthood provides challenges, because young adults are still dependent on their parents and rely on them when seeking support. Compared to older adults, young adults have not been able to prepare themselves for the possibility of parental death.

The purpose of this study was to describe grief after parental death from the viewpoint of young adults. Participants included young adults (= 47) aged between 16 to 28 years. The data were collected using an electronic questionnaire with open-ended questions. Content analysis was used as a means of data analysis.

The grief after parental death in young adulthood manifested itself as exclusion of grief, chaotic emotions, complete inconsolableness and accepting the loss as a part of one’s life history. As a conclusion, the role of the parent as a supporter and source of security seems to carry on far into adulthood. In the absence of peers, young adults may need more support after parental death in comparison to other adults. Young adults experienced spiritual growth, and they could make use of their experiences when facing other crises or other bereaved persons.

Keywords: grief, young adulthood, parental death


Camilla Pynninen-Kangas, Sanna Raudaskoski & Marko Salonen

Sexuality in psychology textbooks

This article considers the ways sexuality is constructed in developmental psychology textbooks used in Finnish universities. The textbooks offer the basis of current psychological knowledge and thus form the foundation on which psychological expertise is built. The analysis is based on the theory of social constructionism, and especially the way knowledge is socially structured. Conceptualizations on sex, gender and sexuality were identified from textbooks using discourse analytical methods. According to the analysis the understanding of sex and gender in the textbooks is strongly dichotomous. The development of a person is described in a gendered manner: males are driven by their biological urges and women are – also based on their nature – to take responsibility for both male and female actions. Sexuality is constructed as a part of the lifespan of a person, but through a frame of biology and risks. In the textbooks, pleasure does not become a part of sexuality until the later years of life. The results show that the textbooks reinforce the norms of heterosexuality and long-term monogamy, which should be carried out in a marriage. Any other forms of manifestation of sexuality are deviances that need to be explained. The ways developmental psychology textbooks portray sexuality are rigid and they do not correspond with the ways current society and people conceptualize and experience sexuality. It is crucial to take these findings into consideration when writing textbooks and when choosing which are to be used in education and how they are to be used. New solutions need to be found to update the construction of sexuality in developmental psychology textbooks.

Keywords: sexuality, sex, gender, developmental psychology, university textbooks, social constructionism, discourse analysis