The research project entitled – “A Street Child’s Perspective: A Grounded Theory Study of How Street Child Experience and Cope with Grief,” seeks to understand and explain how street children experience and cope with grief. Grief is multi-faceted and highly subjective. However, most street children, sharing the same contexts and backgrounds show some commonality in their experiences and coping styles. The paper attempts to understand grief as it is subjectively experienced by street children. The research employed qualitative techniques – In-Depth Interviewing, Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and field notes. The researcher contacted an NGO and through them, gained access to street shelters. The sample comprised of 18 street children - 9 boys; 9 girls, selected through purposive and snowball sampling. After the data was collected using the aforementioned methods, Constructivist Grounded Theory was subsequently used to analyze the data. The results emphasize how similar backgrounds – familial, educational, religious – and shared experiences have influenced expressions of grief and coping styles. Most street children come from broken families and are migrants; they lack enhanced level of literacy; and religion defines their existence – all these factors coalesce to shape their perspective on grief. Street children experience grief collectively, rather than as separate individuals. Their coping styles reflect underlying common patterns that help them connect with one another and experience grief together.


Grief, Loss, Street Children, Social Environment, Grounded Theory Methods, Semi-Structured Interviews, Focus-Group Discussions, Purposive Sampling, Snowball Sampling

Author Bio(s)

Somidha Ray is an undergraduate student of BA Psychology (Hons) and currently in 5th semester in Jesus and Mary College, University of Delhi, India. Though this is her maiden attempt at conducting research, she feels that both qualitative and quantitative research are important for understanding human behaviour holistically. She is also a regular contributor at the blog Psychlone - https://psychloneblog.wordpress.com/. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: somidharay@hotmail.com.


I couldn’t have started and continued with this project, had it not been for the extensive support and encouragement from my faculty members Ms. Bhumika Kapoor, Dr. Meenakshi Mehta and Ms. Vrushali Pathak. I am deeply indebted to Dr. Rajesh Kumar of Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM) for allowing me to visit their night shelters and interviewing the kids. In addition, I cannot forget the support that I received from Ms. Ambreen and Mr. Nitesh. In the field, it was Ms. Sanjana, Mr. Fazle Haq, Gaffar bhai and Javed bhai, without whose active participation and help this project could not have been completed. A special thanks to my father, for his constant presence and support. Lastly, the fabulous children, whom I can’t thank more for teaching me so many things about life and living.

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