Grief Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Multiple Group Comparisons

Maarten C. Eisma*, Aerjen Tamminga

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

53 Citaten (Scopus)
61 Downloads (Pure)


CONTEXT: Grief researchers are concerned that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic will precipitate increases in severe, persistent, and disabling grief, termed prolonged grief disorder or persistent complex bereavement disorder. We recently demonstrated that higher grief levels are experienced after COVID-19-related bereavement than natural bereavement. Death circumstances during the pandemic (e.g., reduced social support, limited opportunities for death rituals) may also hamper the grief process for non-COVID-19-related bereavement, yet no quantitative research has specifically addressed this issue.

OBJECTIVES: To test if grief severity is higher during than before the lockdown after non-COVID-19-related bereavement.

METHODS: A cross-sectional survey including questions on sociodemographic and loss-related variables and a grief measure was conducted among a sample of 1600 bereaved adults (78% females), participating before (n = 731) or during (n = 869) the pandemic, including people who had experienced a loss before the pandemic (n = 456) or during the pandemic (n = 200) recently (five months ago or less).

RESULTS: No significant differences emerged between grief levels in people participating before or during the pandemic. However, being recently bereaved during the pandemic elicited more severe grief than before it (d = 0.17; d = 0.18). Effects remained significant after controlling analyses for relevant loss-related variables.

CONCLUSION: Among all bereaved persons, grief severity was no different during the pandemic compared with before the pandemic. However, experiencing a recent loss during the pandemic elicited more severe acute grief reactions than before the pandemic, suggesting that dealing with loss may be more difficult during this ongoing health crisis.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)e1-e4
Aantal pagina's4
TijdschriftJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Nummer van het tijdschrift6
StatusPublished - dec-2020

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