Continuing Bonds with Children and Bereaved Young People: A Narrative Review


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Background: Finding alternative ways to reconnect with the deceased is a common feature of bereavement. However, it is currently unclear how bereaved children/young people establish and develop a ‘continuing bond’ with deceased family members.
Aim: To investigate how bereaved young people continue bonds with deceased family members.
Design: A systematically conducted narrative review was conducted using six electronic databases; CINAHL, Medline, EMBASE, PsycINFO, PubMed and BNI. Limiters were applied to peer-reviewed articles published in English. Studies were assessed for methodological quality using the JBI Critical Appraisal Tools.
Results: Nineteen articles were included in the review. Three overarching themes were generated; unintended connections, intended connections, and internalised connections.
Conclusion: Bereaved young people establish a sense of connection with deceased family members through various means (e.g. unprovoked/spontaneous reminders, physical mementos, internalised memories). Some connections are unintended and occur spontaneously. However, other young people will specifically seek ways to remember the deceased to provide a sense of enduring connection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
JournalOmega: Journal of Death and Dying
Issue number2-3
Early online date5 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2019


  • continuing bonds
  • bereavement
  • grief
  • children
  • young people


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