Question: In bereaved adults, which group interventions are effective in improving trauma symptoms?


Plain language summary

More research is needed into the effectiveness of group interventions for bereaved adults, as well as looking more specifically into the differential effects between populations such as mothers and fathers following the death of a child.

Clinical and research implications

Evidence about the effectiveness of group interventions for bereaved adults is extremely sparse. There is some indication, from one very poor quality randomised controlled trial, that support groups may improve the negative symptoms of bereaved mothers. However, the size of this effect was not reported and, therefore, its clinical significance cannot be assessed. The same study found that the support group had a negative effect on bereaved fathers.

Studies are needed to adequately assess the effectiveness of group interventions in different bereaved populations. Standardisation of interventions is required to facilitate comparisons between studies and pooling of evidence. Where interventions for bereaved parents are assessed, particular attention should be paid to potential differential effects between mothers and fathers.

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