Bereavement and children’s mental health: Recognising the effects of early parental loss

Azuike, Priscilla; Anjoyeb, Mahmood and King, Liz (2022). Bereavement and children’s mental health: Recognising the effects of early parental loss. Nursing Children and Young People, 34(1) pp. 26–32.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7748/ncyp.2021.e1387

Abstract

Parental death in childhood is a traumatic event and, as a consequence, bereaved children can be at an increased risk of developing mental health issues in adulthood. This article details an extended literature review that was undertaken to explore the effects of early parental death on bereaved children’s mental health and identifies implications for healthcare practice.

Several electronic databases were searched and eight articles were selected for inclusion in this review. Four themes were identified from the literature: child’s age at parental death; cause of parental death; type of parental death; and cascading circumstances. Increased exposure to other adverse circumstances after a parent’s death can also predispose an individual to psychopathology in adulthood, so such circumstances can serve as indicators of the potential effects on children’s future mental health outcomes.

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