Public stigma toward prolonged grief and COVID-19 bereavement: A vignette-based experiment

Tamara Zammit, Vincent O. Mancini, Carly Reid, Jonathan Singer, Lexy Staniland, Lauren J. Breen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We investigated the effects of cause of death and the presence of prolonged grief disorder (PGD) on eliciting public stigma toward the bereaved. Participants (N = 328, 76% female; M age = 27.55 years) were randomly assigned to read one of four vignettes describing a bereaved man. Each vignette differed by his PGD status (PGD diagnosis or no PGD diagnosis) and his wife’s cause of death (COVID-19 or brain hemorrhage). Participants completed public stigma measures assessing negative attributions, desired social distance, and emotional reactions. Bereavement with PGD (versus without PGD) elicited large and significantly stronger responses across all stigma measures. Both causes of death elicited public stigma. There was no interaction between cause of death and PGD on stigma. With increased PGD rates expected during the pandemic, the potential for public stigma and reduced social support for people bereaved via traumatic deaths and people with PGD requires mitigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-128
Number of pages11
JournalDeath Studies
Issue number2
Early online date28 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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