Spirituality for Coping with the Trauma of a Loved One’s Death During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Italian Qualitative Study

Gianmarco Biancalani, Claudia Azzola, Raluca Sassu, Cristina Marogna, Ines Testoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spirituality may be a key factor in reducing the negative psychological effects of traumatic events and a means by which the experience of grief can be processed. The objective of the present research is to assess whether and how spirituality provided concrete support in those who lost a loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic. The participants are 8 people from the most affected cities in northern Italy. They were interviewed in depth, the interviews were transcribed and the texts were analyzed through Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. The results show that spirituality has been found to be a protective factor with regard to the processing of grief in crisis situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular with regard to the belief that the deceased loved one is now in an otherworldly dimension. In addition, the celebration of a funeral rite offers support to the grieving person in the early stages of mourning thus laying the foundation for a healthy grieving process. It is therefore important to support individual spirituality, which can be a useful tool for processing the traumatic experience, especially in difficult times such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-185
Number of pages13
JournalPastoral Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Death
  • Funeral rite
  • Grieving process
  • Spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Religious studies
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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