• Can physical activity support grief outcomes in individuals who have been bereaved? a systematic review

      Williams, Jane; Shorter, Gillian; Howlett, Neil; Zakrzewski-Fruer, Julia K.; Chater, Angel M.; University of Bedfordshire; Queen’s University Belfast; University of Hertfordshire (Springer, 2021-03-06)
      Background: In 2018, there were 616,014 registered deaths in the United Kingdom (UK). Grief is a natural consequence. Many mental health concerns, which can be identified as grief outcomes (e.g. anxiety and depression) in those who have experienced a bereavement, can be improved through physical activity. The objective of this review was to identify from the existing literature if physical activity can benefit grief outcomes in individuals who have been bereaved. Methods: A systematic review of nine databases was performed. Included studies (qualitative and quantitative) explored physical activity to help individuals (of any age) who had experienced a human bereavement (excluding national loss). Results: From 1299 studies screened, 25 met the inclusion criteria, detailing eight types of bereavement (parental (n=5), spousal (n=6), patient (n=4), pre-natal (n=3), later life (n=1), caregiver (n=1), multiple (n=4) and non-defined (n=1). Activities including yoga, running, walking, and martial arts were noted as beneficial. Physical activity allowed a sense of freedom, to express emotions, provided a distraction, and an escape from grief, while enhancing social support. Conclusion: There is some evidence that physical activity may provide benefit for the physical health and psychological wellbeing of those who have been bereaved, including when the loss has happened at a young age. This review is timely, given the wide-scale national loss of life due to COVID-19 and extends knowledge in this area. More research is needed to explore the benefits of physical activity for those who have been bereaved. In particular there is a need for well-designed interventions which are tailored to specific activities, populations and grief outcomes.
    • Reflections on experiencing parental bereavement as a young person: a retrospective qualitative study

      Chater, Angel M.; Howlett, Neil; Shorter, Gillian; Zakrzewski-Fruer, Julia K.; Williams, Jane; ; University of Bedfordshire; University College London; University of Hertfordshire; Queen’s University Belfast (MDPI, 2022-02-13)
      Background: It is estimated that approximately 41,000 children and young people experience the death of a parent each year. Grief responses, such as anxiety and depression, can follow. This research investigated the adult reflections of experiencing parental death as a young person. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with adults (N = 14; female n = 8) who experienced parental death as a young person, which occurred over 5 years ago (time since death, M = 12.9 years; age at death, M = 16.4 years; age at interview, M = 30.9 years). The data were analysed inductively using thematic analysis. Results: Seven themes revealed that parental bereavement can lead to (1) “Distance and isolation” and is an (2) “Emotional journey” with (3) a “Physical impact”. Many experienced (4) “Post-traumatic growth” but acknowledged that (5) “Life will never be the same”, highlighting the importance of (6) “Support and understanding” and triggers for (7) “Re-grief”. Conclusions: Parental bereavement has significant emotional and physical consequences, but can also lead to personal growth. Talking therapies were rarely accessed, often due to a lack of awareness or desire to engage, revealing a translational gap between existing support services and uptake. Enabling open conversations about grief and identifying suitable support is a public health priority. This need has been amplified since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may be a trigger for grief empathy and re-grief in those who have already been bereaved.
    • Template for Rapid Iterative Consensus of Experts (TRICE)

      Chater, Angel M.; Shorter, Gillian; Swanson, Vivien; Kamal, Atiya; Epton, Tracy; Arden, Madelynne A.; Hart, Jo; Byrne-Davis, Lucie; Drury, John; Whittaker, Ellie; et al. (MDPI, 2021-09-29)
      Background: Public health emergencies require rapid responses from experts. Differing viewpoints are common in science, however, “mixed messaging” of varied perspectives can undermine credibility of experts; reduce trust in guidance; and act as a barrier to changing public health behaviours. Collation of a unified voice for effective knowledge creation and translation can be challenging. This work aimed to create a method for rapid psychologically-informed expert guidance during the COVID-19 response. Method: TRICE (Template for Rapid Iterative Consensus of Experts) brings structure, peer-review and consensus to the rapid generation of expert advice. It was developed and trialled with 15 core members of the British Psychological Society COVID-19 Behavioural Science and Disease Prevention Taskforce. Results: Using TRICE; we have produced 18 peer-reviewed COVID-19 guidance documents; based on rapid systematic reviews; co-created by experts in behavioural science and public health; taking 4–156 days to produce; with approximately 18 experts and a median of 7 drafts per output. We provide worked-examples and key considerations; including a shared ethos and theoretical/methodological framework; in this case; the Behaviour Change Wheel and COM-B. Conclusion: TRICE extends existing consensus methodologies and has supported public health collaboration; co-creation of guidance and translation of behavioural science to practice through explicit processes in generating expert advice for public health emergencies.