Bereavement and children’s mental health: recognising the effects of early parental loss
evidence and practice    

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

Priscilla Azuike Nursing student, School of Nursing and Allied Health, Buckinghamshire New University, Uxbridge, England
Mahmood Anjoyeb Senior lecturer, School of Nursing and Allied Health, Buckinghamshire New University, Uxbridge, England
Liz King Senior lecturer, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Institute of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University, London, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To understand how parental death in childhood can negatively affect an individual’s mental health

  • To enhance your awareness of the factors and circumstances that may increase parentally bereaved children’s risk of experiencing mental health issues in adulthood

  • To consider how the support of parentally bereaved children could be improved in your area of practice

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.

Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2021.e1387

Peer review

This article has been subject to open peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

@lizziegking

Correspondence

elizabeth.king@lsbu.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Azuike P, Anjoyeb M, King L (2021) Bereavement and children’s mental health: recognising the effects of early parental loss. Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2021.e1387

Published online: 19 July 2021

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