What is it about?

Social support seems to enhance wellbeing and health in many populations. Conversely, poor social support and loneliness are a social determinant of poor health outcomes and can adversely affect physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Social support is especially important in traumatic grief. However, the ways in which grieving individuals interpret and define social support is not well understood, and little is known about what specific behaviours are perceived as helpful. Using qualitative description and content analysis, this study assessed bereaved individuals’ satisfaction of social support in traumatic grief, using four categories of social support as a framework. Findings suggest inadequate satisfaction from professional, familial, and community support. Pets emerged with the most satisfactory ratings. Further, findings suggest that emotional support is the most desired type of support following traumatic loss. Implications for supporting bereaved individuals within and beyond the context of the COVID-19 pandemic are discussed.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

Traumatic grief affects individuals, families, communities, societies, and even generations. Good social support helps to mitigate adverse outcomes. Animals, however, seem to outperforming humans in understanding how to comfort and aid grievers.


This is such an important article about the definitions, from the experts themselves, of social support in grief and concrete actions that are perceived by grievers as beneficial. In addition, it illuminates the actors, those who are best at providing that support.

Joanne Cacciatore
Arizona State University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: What is good grief support? Exploring the actors and actions in social support after traumatic grief, PLoS ONE, May 2021, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0252324.
You can read the full text:

Open access logo


The following have contributed to this page