A thematic analysis investigating the impact of COVID-19 on the way people think and talk about death and dying

Kathryn Radley, Nigel King, Nadia Wager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports on a study exploring how people thought and talked about death and dying during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings presented here are based on data collected for a larger study examining how people begin to actively think and openly talk about death and dying. Out of sixteen interviews, eleven have been carried out during the pandemic. Ten of the eleven interviews conducted during the pandemic mentioned COVID-19. These were subjected to thematic analysis, which identified two main themes: ‘Becoming more thoughtful and open about death’ and ‘Anxieties around death and COVID-19’. The findings of this study suggest that COVID-19 has prompted people to be more thoughtful and open about death and dying. Almost all the participants have expressed that COVID-19 has led them to start to think and/or talk more openly about death. However, across different interviews and sometimes within the same interview, there is a conflict between viewing COVID-19 as an opportunity to be more thoughtful and open about death and seeing COVID-19 as a threat, with participants expressing some fears and anxieties around death and COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 4 Sep 2022

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