Enhancing Undergraduate Students’ Responses to Bereaved Peers: An Innovative Online Intervention


The purpose of this study was to conduct a randomized controlled trial to assess the efficacy of CARES, an online intervention developed to educate undergraduate students about how to communicate with friends who experienced the death of someone close to them. College students (N=231) were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (1) the CARES intervention, (2) a website containing information about grief and loss, or (3) a control condition. Results indicated that students who participated in the CARES intervention had the greatest knowledge regarding grief and appropriate communication with grieving peers when compared to participants in the website and control conditions. In addition, students receiving the intervention were more confident in their ability to help a grieving peer and had the greatest skill in communicating with a grieving peer. Thus, the CARES intervention has potential for educating undergraduates about effective communication with their grieving peers.