Date of Award

Fall 12-22-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

First Advisor

Dr. Kate Ledwith, LCSW, DSW

Second Advisor

Dr. Carla Sofka, Ph.D.


This dissertation is an exploratory study of grieving college students and their usage of social media and if this usage creates a continuing bond. In this mixed method study, the researcher explored grieving undergraduate and graduate students ages 18-24 who had experienced a death within the last 24 months, their use of social media and their understanding and creation of continuing bonds. Students received an email and self-selected to answer a survey and two instruments describing how grief and continuing bonds are experienced and how social media influences their ability to cope with loss. The data did not support that college students use social media to create or maintain a continuing bond, however exploratory data indicates that students do find a continuing bond important. In this sample, descriptive analysis indicated that college students do use social media to express and cope with their grieving experience and are often ambivalent about sharing their grief and loss experience over social media. Further research is needed to explore how students use the ever-evolving platforms on social media to express their emotions and thoughts during the grieving process.

Included in

Social Work Commons