Bereaved College Students: Examining Predictors of Grief Counseling Skills Among University Counseling Center Therapists

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Between 22% to 30% of college students are grieving a death of a close friend or family member, and nearly 60% of college seniors report experiencing at least one loss in the last three years of college (Balk, 2011; Cox, Dean, & Kowalski, 2015). The university counseling center often is the primary resource for bereaved students, yet centers have limited resources and some psychologists reported inadequate training for working with grieving students (Kim, 2016). This study examined predictors of grief counseling skills in a sample of university counseling center therapists. Grounded in the death competence model (Gamino & Ritter, 2012), results indicated that cognitive competence and emotional competence predicted grief counseling skills, with training/experience being the most robust predictor. Future directions for research and clinical implications are discussed.