You are here: Literature Review shows prevalence and impact of loss in lives of people facing multiple disadvantage

Today Revolving Doors publishes a new paper on the prevalence and impact of loss and bereavement in the lives of people facing severe and multiple disadvantage.

The scope and remit of the review have been shaped by the experiences and insights of our Lived Experience Forums

“It was 20 years ago, aged 19, when I suffered my most devastating bereavement, however it was by no means my first loss. By that time, I had already experienced loss or bereavement 5 times, most of which were traumatic, all insufficiently processed at the time and subsequently preoccupied my thoughts for many years - some till this very day.”

The review shows that while loss is a universal experience, people facing severe disadvantage, including those in contact with the criminal justice system, experience loss at a disproportionately higher rate than the general population. They are also more likely to experience more traumatic forms of loss, such as suicide or other forms of sudden death.

No loss occurs in isolation, and is always experienced within a context. The literature demonstrates that there are a number of environmental factors which can act as protective or exacerbating factors; socio-economic status, the provision (or lack) of support, and the shame associated with the death/the guilt experienced by the bereaved. Losses that are less understood or less validated by society can provoke wider feelings of disenfranchisement.

We know that ‘complicated’ and ‘disenfranchised’ grief can have particularly detrimental effects on the bereaved including risk-taking behaviour, mental ill-health and maladaptive self-medication.

The research is intended to further a conversation on how people facing multiple disadvantages can be better supported in grief; and how research can better explore the cross-cutting nature of loss and bereavement.

This literature review is published as part of our research network programme, run in conjunction with Lankelly Chase Foundation. Previous literature reviews have explored desistance and recovery journeys, peer research and the role of families. Together our research network of over 150 people is seeking to collaboratively further understanding of the ‘whole person’ and their experiences. 

A literature review on loss and bereavement

We set out to better understand the impact and prevalence of a wider range of losses in the lives of people facing multiple disadvantage. The available literature has meant this review focuses primarily on bereavement through death and the role this experience may play in the lives of those who come into contact with the criminal justice system.

Reflecting on loss from the frontline

Rob McCabe, Strategic Lead for the Birmingham SEMH Pathfinder, reflects on our recent literature review on the impact of loss and bereavement on people experiencing severe and multiple disadvantage.