A systematic review of studies describing the influence of informal social support on psychological wellbeing in people bereaved by sudden or violent causes of death [post]

2020 unpublished
Aims: Whilst any type of bereavement can be traumatic, bereavement through violent or sudden causes is associated with more severe negative health and wellbeing outcomes compared to other types of loss. Social support has been found to have a positive impact on wellbeing after traumatic events in general. However, this association appears to be less consistently demonstrated in studies that focus on bereavement, and the literature in this area has not yet been systematically reviewed. This
more » ... aimed to review the international literature to examine systematically whether there is an association between informal social support from family and friends after bereavement through sudden and/or violent causes and post-bereavement wellbeing. Methods: We conducted a systematic search for quantitative studies that tested for an association between social support and any outcome related to wellbeing after a sudden and/or violent loss. Included studies were assessed for quality, and findings were reported using the approach of narrative synthesis. The review was pre-registered on Prospero (registration number CRD42018093704). Results: We identified 16 papers that met inclusion criteria, 11 of which we assessed as being of good or fair quality and 5 as poor quality. 15 different wellbeing outcomes were measured across all studies. We found consistent evidence for an inverse association between social support and symptoms/presence of depression, predominantly consistent evidence for an inverse association between social support and symptoms/presence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and conflicting evidence for an inverse association between social support and symptoms/presence of complicated grief. Conclusions: Our systematic review identified evidence to suggest that social support after sudden or violent bereavement is associated with a reduced severity of depressive and PTSD symptoms. Further longitudinal research is needed to explore potential causality
doi:10.21203/rs.2.16944/v3 fatcat:r5ldmqbuvzbcflnaxbhylq44ty