Helpful and not-helpful categories of analysis – lit review

“What sources of bereavement support are perceived helpful by bereaved people and why? Empirical evidence for the compassionate communities approach.” Aoun, Breen, White, Rumbold, and Kellehear. Palliative Medicine 2018, Vol 32(8) 1378-1388.


Aoun, et al, are exploring a public health model to providing bereavement support. They wanted to know which kind of bereavement support people thought was most helpful.

In 2013-14, they sent a survey to people who had lost loved ones from 6-24 months before, with funeral providers qualifying the list. They identified three kinds of groups: Informal, community support, and professional support. And they used a framework of ways we feel supported (by Weis). They found that people were most DISsatisfied with the professionals. The point they are making is to build caring communities that can respond well.


“Knowledge of bereavement based just on clinical encounters has resulted in many service providers taking an undifferentiated approach to bereavement care, despite research indicating that this type of early intervention by professionals may not be effective. Rumbold and Aoun conclude that the research community, clinical practitioners, and support services are well informed by the minority who seek support through health professionals; however, little is known about how bereavement is lived out in everyday life by the majority of those who do not seek these services.” 1380.


The categories they used for evaluating what people said when asked who and what was helpful, and who and what was not helpful.

Helpful: Things that reflected one or more of these: Attachment (a bond with another person), Social integration (belonging in a group), guidance, reliable alliance (tangible help), Reassurance of worth (being valued), opportunity for nurturance (being needed by others). (Weis, Social Provision Scale)

Not helpful: Things that reflected one or more of these: Absence, insensitivity, poor advice, lack of empathy, systematic hindrance.

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