Bereavement help-seeking following an 'expected' death: a cross-sectional randomised face-to-face population survey
Plummer, John Lewis
Currow, David Christopher
Aoun, Samar M
Hegarty, Margaret Mary
Abernethy, Amy Pickar
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Background : This study examines the prevalence and nature of bereavement help-seeking among the population who experienced an "expected" death in the five years before their survey response. Such whole population data are not limited by identification through previous access to specific services nor practitioners. Methods : In a randomised, cross-sectional, state-wide population-based survey, 6034 people over two years completed face-to-face interviews in South Australia by trained interviewers using piloted questions (74.2% participation rate). Respondent demographics, type of grief help sought, and circumstantial characteristics were collected. Uni- and multi-variate logistic regression models were created. Results : One in three people (1965/6034) had experienced an 'expected' death of someone close to them in the last five years. Thirteen per cent sought help for their grief from one or more: friend/family members (10.7%); grief counselors (2.2%); spiritual advisers (1.9%); nurses/doctors (1.5%). Twenty five respondents (1.3%) had not sought, but would have valued help with their grief. In multi-variate regression modeling, those who sought professional help (3.4% of the bereaved) had provided more intense care (OR 5.39; CI 1.94 to14.98; p < 0.001), identified that they were less able to 'move on' with their lives (OR 7.08; CI 2.49 to 20.13; p = 0.001) and were more likely not to be in full- or part-time work (OR 3.75; CI 2.31 – 11.82; p = 0.024; Nagelkerke's R2 = 0.33). Conclusion : These data provide a whole-of-population baseline of bereavement help-seeking. The uniquely identified group who wished they had sought help is one where potentially significant health gains could be made as we seek to understand better any improved health outcomes as a result of involving bereavement services.
© 2008 Currow et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.