Protocol: A systematic review of the effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) compared with other psychological therapies in managing grief experienced by bereaved spouses or partners of adults who had received palliative care worldwide

Vseteckova, Jitka; Jones, Kerry; Boyle, Geraldine; Garcia, Rebecca and Methley, Abigail (2020). Protocol: A systematic review of the effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) compared with other psychological therapies in managing grief experienced by bereaved spouses or partners of adults who had received palliative care worldwide. Prospero - International Prospective register of Systematic Reviews (In Press).

Abstract

Condition or domain being studied Anticipatory grief involves grieving for the impending loss of a patient and which has been assumed to improve bereavement outcomes. However, a systematic review by Thomas et al (2014) indicated that low levels of preparedness during caregiving was associated with poor bereavement outcomes, such as prolonged grief disorder. Even if carers, spouses and partners were prepared post death, some individuals still report high levels of mental health problems during bereavement (Thomas et al, 2014). Bonnano et al (2008), report that 10-15% of individuals bereaved following the loss of a patient in receipt of palliative care suffer chronic distress and depression for many years after the loss, while others report acute depression from which they recover in one to two years. Anticipatory grief results from uncertainty as well as trying to cope with what is to come or how a disease will progress.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a form of cognitive behavioural therapy (Hayes, Strosahl & Wilson, 2004) which has been growing in popularity since its development in the 1980s. ACT takes a nonpathologising view of mental health, conversely stating that everyone experiences challenges and distress in life.

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