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Can Physical Activity Support Grief Outcomes in Individuals Who Have Been Bereaved? A Systematic Review



Williams, Jane;

Shorter, Gillian W;

Howlett, Neil;

Zakrzewski-Fruer, Julia;

Chater, Angel M;

(2021)

Can Physical Activity Support Grief Outcomes in Individuals Who Have Been Bereaved? A Systematic Review.

Sports Medicine – Open
, 7


, Article 26. 10.1186/s40798-021-00311-z.

Abstract

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, whilst 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.

Type: Article

Title: Can Physical Activity Support Grief Outcomes in Individuals Who Have Been Bereaved? A Systematic Review
Location: Switzerland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s40798-021-00311-z
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40798-021-00311-z
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10152820
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