Grief Education in the Age of Social Media

The death of a loved one or co-worker can have devastating effects on employees in the workplace including low productivity, change in attitude and motivation (See Vivona & Ty, 2011).  Also, recent news headlines on shootings and other tragedies termed shared trauma can also impact the lives of employees for many years (Pascale, 2011).


A recent study by McWhorter, Mancuso and Lindhjem (2012) located evidence of sophisticated technologies such as social media and virtual worlds that are being utilized for grief education. For employees who are reluctant to participate in face-to-face counseling or support groups as well as those at a distance that prohibiting participation in such services, virtual grief education is a viable alternative for them.

The researchers’ findings included the discovery of: Facebook groups offering peer grief support, numerous organizational websites devoted to grief support and education through online collaboration, Twitter groups devoted solely to grief education and support, and groups found in virtual worlds such as Second Life offering the ability of real-time communication via avatar providing a high level of privacy (McWhorter, et al).



The Compassionate Friends (2012). Retrieved from:

McWhorter, R. R., Mancuso, D. S., & Lindhjem, K. A. (2012). Virtual resources as grief education: Web environments for coping with loss. Adult Education Research Conference, May 31-June 3, 2012, Saratoga Springs, New York.

Pascale, A. (2011). 9/11 A decade later: Study finds shared trauma still a factor.     Retrieved from–study-finds-shared-trauma-still-a-factor

Vivona, B.,  &  Ty, R. (2011). Traumatic death in the workplace: Why should HRD care? Advances in Developing Human Resources, 13(1), 99-113.

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1 Response to Grief Education in the Age of Social Media

  1. Donna says:

    Great job on this!

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