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The Sibling Connection
Experiencing the Death of a Sibling as a College Student

What is a structured or less structured environment?

           There are two basic kinds of structure that concern us here, internal and external.

  • INTERNAL ---First is psychological (internal) structure which begins forming automatically when you are an infant and you experience increasing doses of normal life frustrations. When students arrive at college, their internal structure is already in place. Each individual has a greater or lesser degree of internal structure, and thus is more or less dependent on external structure to maintain emotional equilibrium.


  • EXTERNAL--External structure consists of the people, routines, and patterns of your daily life. A structured household has regular times for waking, sleeping, grooming, mealtimes, social times, holidays, work or school times, and even coffee break times. It also consists of expectations about how you will dress and behave.
  • The importance of this second kind of structure is usually only seen when it is missing. Long periods of unstructured time, such as may occur during college life on long weekends or Sunday afternoons, create an environment in which depression thrives. External structure helps to keep emotions in check.

    On the other hand, too much structure, with too rigid adherence to rules, schedules, and deadlines may create the kind of atmosphere in which emotions are not available at all. For resolution of grief to occur without overwhelming the individual, there needs to be a balance between too much structure and too little structure.








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