Parents of early returned LDS missionaries, Ambiguous Loss, Grief, communication, support


This paper shares the results of a mixed methods study designed to understand the lived experiences of parents of early-returned LDS missionaries. Researchers conducted two focus groups of parents (n = 7) and developed and administered a survey (n = 199). The study considered the phenomenon through the theoretical lenses of Kübler-Ross’s model of grief and Boss’s model of ambiguous loss. The results suggested that parents struggle with the early-return process, the lack of communication with mission presidents, a perceived lack of support from some church leaders and ward members, and personal adjustment to their child’s early return. Clinical implications include suggestions for improved parental adjustment and seven assumptions regarding ambiguous loss.