Occupational therapy in the bereavement process: A meta-synthesis

Daniel Ferreira Dahdah, Regina Helena Vitale Torkomian Joaquim


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2310-3833/2017/vol48n3a3
South African Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2018; 48 (3):12-18.

Introduction: Bereavement is a complex process characterised by a state of grief and suffering, which impacts the health and well-being of the bereaved, and extends to their occupational performance. Thus, occupation can be understood to be central in the expression of bereavement after the death of a loved one as it mediates identity formation, interpersonal relationships, a sense of belonging, and future perspectives. Purpose: To review English and Portuguese literature and identify how occupational therapists perceive and/or intervene in the bereavement process.

Method: A meta-synthesis was conducted by database search and article analysis. Results and Discussion: Eight qualitative style articles were analysed. From these, three categories were derived from the content analysis: 1) Relationship between study participants and the deceased; 2) Occupational repercussions of bereavement; and 3) Occupation as a means to an end in the therapy process of the bereaved.

Conclusions: Although the need for studies of the bereavement process and its implications for occupations is urgent, this study points out that occupations can be predictors of understanding the elaboration process through occupational engagement and that they also act as a potential resource to construct meaning about the death of the loved one.

 Keywords: Occupational therapy, bereavement, grief, mourning, attitude to death

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

CC license
This Open Access journal is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License [CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0]. Under this license, authors agree to make articles available to users, without permission or fees, for any lawful, non- commercial purpose. Users may read, copy, or re-use published content as long as the author and original place of publication are properly cited.