The Pandemic Grief Project

Helping health professionals and scholars identify people suffering from COVID-19 grief.

We are a research team that is studying how bereavement during COVID-19 affects the mental health and well-being of people across the globe. Our current focus is on the Pandemic Grief Scale (PGS), a brief mental health screener of dysfunctional grief caused by losing someone to COVID-19, and the Pandemic Grief Risk Factors (PGRF), a self-report inventory of distinctive risk factors associated with grief in the context of a COVID-19 loss. Because millions of people are grieving this loss due to COVID-19, our hope is that health professionals will use our tools to identify people at risk for or suffering from dysfunctional levels of grief. We also hope that other researchers will join us in studying the COVID-19 grief phenomenon.

We are also proud supporters of the COVID-19 Complicated Grief Initiative. If you would like to join us in urging President Biden to develop a national strategy to help support those facing pandemic-related grief, you can show your support here.

Please also join us in supporting National COVID-19 Day where we can come together virtually to support one another and share free resources for navigating grief, cultivating resilience, and caring for others during this challenging time.

Pandemic Grief Scale for Healthcare Workers

Our Publications

Breen, L. J., Lee, S. A., Mancini, V. O., Willis, M., & Neimeyer, R. A. (2022): Grief and functional impairment following COVID-19 loss in a treatment-seeking sample: The mediating role of meaning. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling.

Lee, S. A., Neimeyer, R. A., Mancini, V. O., & Breen, L. J. (2022). Unfinished business and self-blaming emotions among those bereaved by a COVID-19 death. Death Studies.

Ashraf, F., Lee, S. A., Jobe, M. C., Mathis, A. A., & Kanwal, T. (2022). Bereavement in Pakistan during the COVID-19 pandemic: Psychometric analysis of the Pandemic Grief Scale-Urdu Version (PGS-UV). Death Studies.

Caycho-Rodríguez, T., Valencia, P. D., Vilca, L. W., Lee, S. A., Carbajal-León, C., Vivanco-Vidal, A., Saroli-Araníbar, D., Reyes-Bossio, M., White, M., Rojas-Jara, C., Polanco-Carrasco, R., Gallegos, M., Cervigni, M., Martino, P., Palacios, D. A., Moreta-Herrera, R., Samaniego-Pinho, A., Rivera, M. E. L., Figares, A. B.,…Gallegos, W. L. A. (2021). COVID-19 bereavement in ten Latin American countries: Measurement invariance of the Pandemic Grief Scale and its relation to suicidal ideation. OMEGA: Journal of Death and Dying.

Breen, L. J., Mancini, V. O., Lee, S. A., Pappalardo, E. A., & Neimeyer, R. A. (2021). Risk factors for dysfunctional grief and functional impairment for all causes of death during the COVID-19 pandemic: The mediating role of meaning. Death Studies.

Caycho‑Rodríguez, T., Vilca, L. W., Vivanco‑Vidal, A., Saroli‑Araníbar, D., Carbajal‑León, C., Arias Gallegos, W. L., White, M., & Lee, S. A. (2021). Assessment of dysfunctional grief due to death from COVID-19 in Peru: Adaptation and validation of a Spanish version of the Pandemic Grief Scale. Trends in Psychology.

Neimeyer, R. A., Milman, E., & Lee, S. A. (2021). Apocalypse now: COVID-19 and the crisis of meaning. In P. Pentaris (Ed.), Death, grief and loss in the context of COVID-19 (pp. 40-58). Routledge.

Lee, S. A., Neimeyer, R. A., & Breen, L. J. (2021). The utility of the Pandemic Grief Scale in identifying functional impairment from COVID-19 bereavement. Journal of Palliative Medicine.

Skalski, S., Konaszewski, K., Dobrakowski, P., Surzykiewicz, J., & Lee, S. A. (2021). Pandemic grief in Poland: Adaptation of a measure and its relationship with social support and resilience. Current Psychology.

Neimeyer, R. A., & Lee, S. A. (2021). Circumstances of the death and associated risk factors for severity and impairment of COVID-19 grief. Death Studies.

Neimeyer, R. A., & Lee, S. A. (2021). When grief goes viral: Psychological impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In K. J. Doka & A. S. Tucci (Eds.), Living with grief since COVID-19 (pp. 69-83). Hospice Foundation of America.

Breen, L. J., Lee, S. A., & Neimeyer, R. A. (2021). Psychological risk factors of functional impairment following COVID-19 deaths. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.

Lee, S. A., & Neimeyer, R. A. (2022). Pandemic Grief Scale: A screening tool for dysfunctional grief due to a COVID-19 Loss. Death Studies, 46(1), 14-24.

Other's Publications

Caycho-Rodríguez, T., Valencia, P. D., Gallegos, M., Intimayta-Escalante, C., & White, M. (2022). Dysfunctional grief related to COVID-19 in Latin America. Electronic Journal of General Medicine.

El Sayed, S., Gomaa, S., Aboelfotoh, S., & El Wasify, M. (2021). Pandemic Grief Scale in detection of grief reaction among physicians in COVID-19 era. Middle East Current Psychiatry.

Evren, C., Evren, B., Dalbudak, E., Topcu, M., & Kutlu, N. (2021). Measuring dysfunctional grief due to a COVID-19 loss: A Turkish validation study of the Pandemic Grief Scale. Death Studies.

Programs and Presentations

All in The Mind with Sana Qadar (2022, April 17), “Grief and the pandemic,” with Dr. Breen and Dr. Lee as Guests.

Lee, S. A. (2021, March 31). Pandemic grief: A psychometric perspective [virtual presentation]. 1º Encontro Internacional De Saude Mental E As Reacoes Psicologicas E Neurologicas A COVID-19, São Paulo, Brazil. Presentation begins on 7hr 9min mark:

Hospice Foundation of America webinar (2021, March 2), “Living with Grief Since COVID-19.”

Hospice Foundation of America webinar (2021, January 26), “The Shadow Pandemic: Psychological Screening and Intervention in the COVID-19 Crisis.”


Mirage's (7/4/22) article, “Most British Covid mourners suffer PTSD symptoms: Survey.

Grant Hilary Brenner’s (5/10/22) article in Psychology Today, “Understanding grief in the shadow of COVID-19: New research identifies key determinants of bereavement intensity.

Lauren Breen’s (3/17/22) article for The Conversation, “COVID has changed how we live, how we die, and how we grieve.

Jamie Aten and Kent Annan’s (12/15/21) article in the Better Samaritan, “Are You Struggling with COVID-19 Grief this Holiday Season?

Stacey Burling’s (8/12/21) article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “The pandemic made grief harder. Some may need help.

Kerry Sheridan’s (7/15/21) story for WUSF Public Media (NPR Florida), “His sights were on medical school, when tragedy struck his family, twice.

Kelly Grant and Sirman Singh’s (7/13/21) story for The Globe and Mail (Canada), “As many return to pre-pandemic life, families still grieving loved ones struggle to move forward.

David Russell’s (7/5/21) book review in Death Studies, “The many voices of grieving during COVID-19.

Linnea Crowther’s (6/23/21) article for, “It’s never too late: Hold the memorial service you couldn’t in 2020.

Stephanie Pappas’s (6/1/21) article for APA’s Monitor on Psychology, “Helping patients cope with COVID-19 grief: The pandemic has drastically altered the way people mourn.

Samantha Simons’ (5/13/21) article in the Amherst Wire, “Mourning a loss during the pandemic.

Paula Derrow’s (5/3/21) Happify Daily article, “The unique pain of grieving during a pandemic.

Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (4/27/21) Polish news article, “Complicated mourning. A new psychological effect of COVID-19.”

Ken Brack’s (4/26/21) Psychology Today article, “No return to normal: There’s a disconnect in the emerging conversation about pandemic grief.”

Gloria Anderson’s (4/18/21) book review in the Journal of Gerontological Social Work, “Living with Grief Since COVID-19.

Christina Caron’s (4/1/21) article in The New York Times, “How to start healing during a season of grief.”

Cathy Alter’s (3/28/21) article in The Washington Post, “‘Pandemic grief’ proves especially devastating and complex for many in mourning, health experts say.”

Dr. Jamie Aten’s (3/12/21) interview in Psychology Today,Measuring COVID's Effect on Grief: An interview with Sherman Lee on pandemic-related complications and grief."

Hippocratic Post (2/26/21) article, “Study suggests greater need for grief support.”

Curtin University’s (2/25/21) article, “A greater need for grief support due to COVID-19.

CNU’s Newsroom (2/22/21) article, “Professor contributes to new Hospice book on pandemic: Dr. Sherman Lee offers counsel on how to ’Live with Grief.’

Dr. Jamie Aten’s (2/10/21) interview in Psychology Today, “COVID's added impact to the grief of losing loved ones: Research shows how we can better support those grieving from loss during COVID.”

Joanne Kimberlin’s (1/29/21) article in The Virginia-Pilot, “Researchers warn of pandemic-related grief ‘tsunami’ .”

Beth Ellwood's (1/13/21) article in the PsyPost , "New “Pandemic Grief Scale” identifies dysfunctional grief associated with the loss of a loved one to COVID-19."

CNU’s Newsroom (1/7/21) article, “Preventing the Second Pandemic: Dr. Sherman Lee develops scale to measure COVID grief.”

Kali Venable’s (12/28/20) article in the Victoria Advocate, “'I can't believe she's gone': Pandemic restrictions, stressors compound grief process.”

The Research Team

Sherman A. Lee, PhD, is an associate professor of psychology at Christopher Newport University. He studies negative feeling states, such as anxiety and grief, and the role personality and religion play in those emotional experiences. He teaches courses in the psychology of personality, psychology of the human-animal bond (Anthrozoology), and the psychology of death, dying, and bereavement (Thanatology).

Emily A. Pappalardo is an undergraduate psychology major, with a minor in leadership studies at Christopher Newport University. She currently is an undergraduate research assistant, planning to graduate in Spring 2023. Her interests include developmental and cognitive psychology.

Lauren J. Breen, PhD, is an associate professor of psychology at Curtin University. She studies the psychology of grief and loss and has published over 120 journal articles and book chapters. She teaches courses in ethics, research methods, and adult developmental psychology.

Vincent O. Mancini, PhD, is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia Law School and Senior Research Officer at Telethon Kids Institute. His primary area of research is the early biological and environmental determinants of neurodevelopment, with additional interests in the field of psychopathology, family law, and grief. He is also a registered psychologist with clinical experience in the field of trauma and paediatric psychopathology.

Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD, directs the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition, and maintains an active consulting and coaching practice. Neimeyer has published over 500 journal articles and book chapters as well as 30 books, including Techniques of Grief Therapy, and serves as Editor of Death Studies. He is currently working to advance a more adequate theory of grieving as a meaning-making process.


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