Reviewing the Literature on Bereavement in the Time of the Pandemic

Subject: Healthcare Research
Pages: 4
Words: 1085
Reading time:
5 min
Study level: Bachelor


Losing close people is always a psychologically painful experience. Bereavement and funerals allow people to find solace in the fact of death. However, the pandemic imposes certain restrictions, which compromise the ability to mourn the loss. The global tendency to move away from wakes for fear of the virus precipitates a public mental health crisis. The Irish traditions allow people to comfort each other in the aftermath of funerals. The subsequent research question is: how can Irish funeral traditions help the bereaved people cope with losses during the pandemic?

The proposed methodology is surveys. Ascertaining whether Irish funeral traditions will help people overcome their grief requires analyzing the most common psychological issues. The most effective way to do it is by conducting anonymous surveys through the Internet. The research methods will be primarily quantitative as a result will be based on the number of answers available. It would be appropriate for two reasons – first, it does not pressure people into publicly disclosing their identities. Second, it allows the researcher to structure the questionnaires to incorporate the questions regarding the appeal of Irish traditions.

Ethical Principles in Human Research

There are two ethical issues with this research. First, the participants will be required to confront their feelings, which will likely affect their emotional well-being. In order to properly describe how one feels, it is necessary to delve into the negativity. There is no guarantee that at the end of the surveys, the emotional state of the participants will improve. Second, the survey may offend some of the participants because it requires them to question their values regarding funerals and mourning. However, all participation is voluntary, meaning that anyone can opt-out at any time. Moreover, all surveys are anonymous, which means no pressure on public disclosure. Finally, the questions will be structured in a non-imposing manner in order to minimize the risk of forcefully changing the values of the participants.

Data Analysis Methods

The study will utilize surveys as the primary method of data collection. Subsequently, all data will be quantifiable, which allows for descriptive analysis. The survey will have a section of questions pertaining to the participants’ bereavement, inquiring how they handle the grief. The second section will ask the participants whether the Irish practices would make them feel better without identifying them as Irish. It is a preferred method because it will allow the researcher to see patterns and conclude whether Irish practices are compatible based on the number of positive answers. In general, analysis based on statistics is the most credible because it is backed by hard data.

Menzies et al. (2020) raise the question of the looming mental crisis because of the pandemic and the death toll surrounding it. The strength of this article lies in the examination of human emotions during the grieving and its extrapolation to the global scale within the context of the coronavirus. However, the authors do not consider cultural differences regarding funerals because they state that bereavement is the universal resolution of all relational issues, which is the major weakness of the article. Menzies et al. (2020) make thorough use of research into the psychology of mourning and COVID-related mortality data. At the same time, the study shows a certain bias toward the selection of sources, which corroborate the statistics on death-related mental issues.

Another study by Pearce et al. (2021) showcases the importance of maintaining bereavement care. The insight into the social repercussions of attributing the death to COVID-19 constitutes the strength of the article. It should be noted that there is no explanation given as to how to resolve the problem of organizing bereavement practices under the quarantine measures. Statistical analysis of respondents’ answers concerning the limitations of bereavement opportunities in the pandemic contributes to the article’s rigor. The study was designed to encompass the personnel of healthcare institutions primarily, thus, displaying the bias towards the groups, which were most affected by the pandemic difficulties.

The problem of the lack of suggestions by Pearce et al. (2021) for managing restrictions in bereavement practice was addressed by Wallace et al. (2020). The authors have described in detail the benefits of honest communication with the healthcare staff and self-care guidance, which comprise the rigor of the article. The article’s weakness lies in the insufficient data to back the proposal to teach grieving families to handle emotions when no bereavement services are available. Partially, this is the result of the researchers’ prejudice against any interactions involving prolonged real-life communication between bereavement care specialists and the relatives of the deceased.

Finding strength in oneself to overcome grief without resorting to specialist care is the focus of Lucey’s (2020) article. The author references psychological evidence of the benefits that bereavement has on acceptance of death, which adds to the article’s validity in terms of self-care advice. At the same time, the article does not present any empirical evidence, which would back the initial assumption, thus revealing its main weakness. The author also makes excessive use of moral statements, which articulates his prejudiced attitude against the societal tendency to distance oneself from death.

Another author whose strength resides in the ability to find methods of mitigating bereavement restrictions is Ronan (2020). She delves into the Irish culture, which places much value on funerals and mourning. The weakness of the article is that the recounts of such initiatives as gathering outside the house of the bereaved people as an alternative to public mourning in a closed space are the only data the author relies on to make an argument. The rigor of the article manifests in the comparison of Irish traditions against other cultures with less respect for the deceased. While profound, it also reveals the bias of the author towards the Irish practices, which are presented as a way to continue bereavement despite the pandemic.


Altogether, the literature used for the study incorporates psychological research into bereavement and its benefits. It is established that the pandemic has created barriers to managing grief. Nevertheless, there are methods of mitigating the problem revolving around self-care. Overall, the study will accomplish two objectives. First, it will highlight the emotional issues stemming from the lack of permitted bereavement practices. Second, the study will show whether Irish traditions are acceptable to other people. The recommended approach is using an anonymous Internet survey, which will provide quantifiable data. Subsequently, the research results will allow establish whether Irish funeral practices can offer a solution to the public mental health crisis.


Lucey, J. (2020). When grief gets complicated after COVID-19, what can we do? St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services.

Menzies, R. E., Neimeyer, R. A., & Menzies, R. G. (2020). Death anxiety, loss, and grief in the time of COVID-19. Behaviour Change, 37(3), 111-115.

Pearce, C., Honey, J. R., Lovick, R., Creamer, N. Z., Henry, C., Langford, A., Stobert, M., & Barclay, S. (2021). ‘A silent epidemic of grief’: A survey of bereavement care provision in the UK and Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic. BMJ Open, 11(3), 1-10.

Ronan, M. (2020). Funerals in the time of coronavirus. Irish Journal of Sociology, 1-5.

Wallace, C. L., Wladkowski, S. P., Gibson, A., & White, P. (2020). Grief during the COVID-19 pandemic: Considerations for palliative care providers. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 60(21), 70-76.