A Systematic Mapping of Suicide Bereavement and Postvention Research and a Proposed Strategic Research Agenda

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Abstract

Background: Suicide may have disruptive and/or devastating effects on family, friends, and the broader community. Of late, increased interest from suicide researchers has given rise to an upsurge in research productivity addressing suicide bereavement and postvention. At this critical juncture, the establishment of an agenda will help guide the direction of future scholarly research in this field. Aims: To conduct an exhaustive systematic mapping review and bibliometric analysis of peer-reviewed suicide bereavement and postvention research published over the past 50 years. Method: A comprehensive and strategic search of electronic databases and web-based search engines for original research studies was conducted resulting in the identification of 443 articles. Results: Since 1965, the global research activities in the field of suicide bereavement and postvention is approximately 8.86 papers per year. There remains a lack of evaluation studies on the effects of interventions/programs with the majority of papers being explanatory in nature. Several areas of study within this field remain neglected. Limitations: While the search strategy was rigorous, potential limitations exist due to nonstandardized nomenclature and English language only inclusion, which inherently favors research from high-income countries. Conclusion: Suggested topics for a research agenda are proposed from the current limitations in the field.

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