Exploring the Impact of Bereavement During the COVID-19 Pandemic on Children and Young People: A Scoping Review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Experiencing bereavement as a child or young person (CYP) can have long-lasting effects. The societal and environmental burdens of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic exacerbated the experience of loss and grief for many CYP, who were unable to access their usual the support networks. However, it is still unclear what is currently known and not known about the experiences of CYP bereaved during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. This review used the framework of Arksey and O’Malley and included five stages: (1) identifying the research question; (2) identifying relevant studies; (3) study selection; (4) charting the data; (5) collating, summarizing, and reporting the results. The methodological quality of the included studies was also assessed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool. The PRISMA framework was used for reporting the results. The electronic databases Medline, PsychINFO, CINAHL, and PubMed were searched for relevant articles. A total of three papers meeting the inclusion criteria were included in this review and two main themes identified: (1) support (which included sub-themes; social isolation and the impact on support; support from family and friends; wider support networks); (2) Emotional impact of bereavement during a pandemic. Access to support networks is crucial for CYP to understand and process their emotions relating to their bereavement experience. The pandemic meant that many usual support networks such as family and friends were inaccessible to CYP, who struggled to deal with their experience of grief during this time. Schools are a valuable support mechanism and can help CYP understand their emotions through open discussions about their bereavement. The limited empirical evidence currently available in this area of research demonstrates an important need to further understanding of the long-term impacts of dealing with pandemic-related loss in childhood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-67
Number of pages13
JournalComprehensive Child and Adolescent Nursing
Issue number1
Early online date21 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024

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