The impact of bereavement support on wellbeing: a comparative study between Australia and Ireland

Samar M. Aoun, Orla Keegan, Amanda Roberts, Lauren J. Breen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There is a dearth of national and international data on the impact of social support on physical, mental, and financial outcomes following bereavement. Methods: We draw from two large, population-based studies of bereaved people in Australia and Ireland to compare bereaved people’s experience of support. The Australian study used a postal survey targeting clients of six funeral providers and the Irish study used telephone interviews with a random sample of the population. Results: Across both studies, the vast majority of bereaved people reported relying on informal supporters, particularly family and friends. While sources of professional help were the least used, they had the highest proportions of perceived unhelpfulness. A substantial proportion, 20% to 30% of bereaved people, reported worsening of their physical and mental health and about 30% did not feel their needs were met. Those who did not receive enough support reported the highest deterioration in wellbeing. Discussion: The compassionate communities approach, which harnesses the informal resources inherent in communities, needs to be strengthened by identifying a range of useful practice models that will address the support gaps. Ireland has taken the lead in developing a policy framework providing guidance on level of service provision, associated staff competencies, and training needs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPalliative Care and Social Practice
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of bereavement support on wellbeing: a comparative study between Australia and Ireland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this