OPEN Research Support

Jette Marcussen
OPEN Odense Patient data Explorative Network, Odense University Hospital

Projekt styring
Projekt status    Sampling ongoing
Data indsamlingsdatoer
Start 01.06.2016  
Slut 31.05.2019  

Mental health perspective on children's double bereavement of parental divorce and parental death by Jette Marcussen

Short summary

According to international studies, children with double bereavement have an increased risk of developing mental health problems. This study use mixed-methods and both qualitative and quantitative methods. It searches for knowledge by the use of a phenomenological hermeneutic approach in the qualitative sub-studies. The studies focus on how Danish children and young adults experience double bereavement and its impact on their mental health and need of support. Furthermore, it investigates how the health care system can intervene and support children and young adults with double bereavement.


Up to 46% of Danish children whom experience parental death have also experienced parental divorce or have only lived with one parent. Children who experience double bereavement, according to international studies, have an increased risk of developing problems with their mental health. This project aims to develop knowledge about how children experience double bereavement and its impact on their mental health and their needs of support. The study also investigates how health care systems can support children who experience double bereavement, so that help and support can be targeted with a focus on promoting these children's mental health.

Description of the cohort

Data and biological material

The project will develop and describe support for children and young adults from divorced families and who lose a parent to cancer and it will find knowledge on children and young adults experience with double bereavement. This will be done through:

  1. An integrative systematic literature review
  2. An interview study with nurses
  3. A survey that compares young adults, who have lost a parent before their 30 years and who have divorced parents (before 18 years) or non-divorced parents. The survey use WHO-5(well-being-index), PG-13 (Prolonged Grief Disorder), Brief Grief Questionaire and CMDQ (Common Mental Disorder Qustionaire) to meassure their well-being and grief and mental disorders.
  4. A Field study in the Danish Cancer Society in a counseling department – following groups with children with parental cancer and young adult who have lost parents.

Collaborating researchers and departments

OPEN Odense Patient data Explorative Network, Odense University Hospital

  • PhD-student Jette Marcussen, RN
  • Professor Lise Hounsgaard
Center of Knowledge based Praxis, Bergen University College
  • Professor Frode Thuen
Health Sciences Research Center, University College Lillebaelt
  • Head of Research Poul Bruun, RN, PhD
The Danish National Center for Grief: Child, Youth & Bereavement
  • Director Preben Engelbrekt

Nurses from OUH and Health care departments in Region Southern Denmark 

The Danish Cancer Society

Publications associated with the project

Parental divorce and parental death - An integrative review on double bereavement.  Marcussen, J.; Thuen, F., Bruun, P., Hounsgaard, L., (2015), Clinical Nursing Studies, Vol. 3, No. 4, 103-11.

Børn og unges dobbeltsorg, Marcussen, J.; Thuen, F., Bruun, P., Hounsgaard, L., (2016), Fag og Forskning 03.16., Sygeplejersken. 

Parental death in young adults with divorced compared to non-divorced parents: The effect on prolonged grief and mental health. Marcussen, J., Hounsgaard, L., O´Connor, M., Møller, S., Wilson, R., F., & Thuen, F. (2019), Death Studies.

Double bereavement, mental health consequences and support needs of children and young adults - when a divorced parent dies of cancer. Marcussen, J., Thuen, F. J., O´Connor, M., Hounsgaard, L., & Wilson, R., (2020), Journal of Clinical Nursing.

The divorced family-focused care model: A nursing model to enhance child and family mental health and well-being of doubly bereaved children following parental divorce and subsequent parental cancer and death. Marcussen, J., Hounsgaard, L., Bruun, P., Laursen, M. G., Thuen, F., & Wilson, R., (2019), Journal of Family Nursing.