Sex differences in behavioral and psychological expression of grief during adolescence: A meta-analysis

Rachel M. Shulla, Russell B. Toomey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This meta-analysis synthesizes the results of 14 independent studies conducted in the U.S. (N = 6979 participants) that examined sex differences in internalized, externalized, and PTSD symptoms associated with grief during adolescence. The mean age of participants was 12.22 years (SD = 2.31) with 50% male and 50% female sex assigned at birth. While no mean-level differences were found between adolescent females and males in externalizing behaviors associated with grief (d = 0.03), on average, females reported higher levels of internalized grief responses (d = 0.18) and higher levels of PTSD symptoms (d = 0.36) than their male counterparts. Findings suggest the need for additional, more nuanced research to investigate possible sex differences in externalized behaviors relating to grief. In addition, research should examine whether tailored therapeutic and intervention measures and resources are needed for adolescents experiencing internalized grief and PTSD symptoms given sex differences in these reactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-227
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Adolescence
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Externalizing symptoms
  • Grief
  • Internalizing symptoms
  • Meta-analysis
  • PTSD
  • Sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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