Research Topic

The Challenge of Palliative Psychology Across the Lifespan: Between New Health Emergencies and Paradigm Shifts

About this Research Topic

Palliative care is an interdisciplinary care service which has been rapidly expanding in health care settings over the past 15 years. Palliative care is differentiated between two levels. In hospitals and territorial care facilities, the first level concerns interventions to reduce distress and psychophysical ...

Palliative care is an interdisciplinary care service which has been rapidly expanding in health care settings over the past 15 years. Palliative care is differentiated between two levels. In hospitals and territorial care facilities, the first level concerns interventions to reduce distress and psychophysical pain caused by serious illness, and/or trauma, and the management of suffering caused by disabilities, chronic disease, or other threatening conditions. The second level concerns more specifically palliative intervention in end-of-life, hospice and palliative care networks. Within these levels, psychologists can offer clinical diagnoses of psychological difficulties and perform patient assessments. Psychologists can also deliver empirically supported counselling, psychotherapy, and assist patients with treatment planning. Further, they implement staff support services and conduct research on program development and treatment effectiveness. Moreover, psychologists collaborate with territorial social services to support patients and families in the managing related difficulties.

Palliative psychology is in a prime position to help patients, their families, social services, and other health professionals coordinate care along the disease continuum to maximize quality of life in critical and end of life situations. Palliative psychology can also help in managing the current global pandemic. However, several barriers exist regarding psychologists’ intervention into palliative care, such as the lack of inclusion of psychologists on palliative care teams, gaps in palliative care training for psychologists, and lack of psychology research in the field.

Therefore, this Research Topic aims to understand the efficacy of psychological work in palliative care contexts and welcomes evidence-based findings regarding what psychology can offer in this expanding field. Rigorous quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods studies will be considered. Qualitative studies should be based on empirical data instead of merely descriptive case illustrations. High-quality theoretical manuscripts, systematic reviews, and/ or meta-analyses will also be considered. Sub-topics of interest include:

The Field of Palliative Psychology
• Psychology in death studies
• The fields of palliative psychology across the lifespan
• The role of psychologists in palliative care settings
• Organizational well-being, work and stress, burnout, workplace spirituality;
• Social health discrimination processes in palliative care;
• Palliative psychology in COVID-19-related emergencies;

Pediatric Palliative Psychology (PPC):
• Palliative care for children and adolescents;
• Perinatal palliative care;
• Bereavement support after the death of a child;
• Training in pediatric palliative psychology;
• Support to the care team in pediatric palliative care;
• Non -pharmacological therapy for symptom control in PPC;

Coping and Resilience:
• Resilience and individual (versus familial) bereavement;
• Parents’ coping with loss
• Child/adolescent development following the death of a parent;
• Terror Management Theory;
• Creative arts therapies (art, music, drama, dance) at the end of life
• Social trauma, psychosocial stress, acute stress, chronic stress, disaster mental health;

Assessment and Intervention:
• Appropriate interventions to support the bereaved;
• Assessment and examination of all expressions of loss, grief, and mourning, suffering and pain
• Death education - social and psychological strategies for dealing with death and palliative care team formation;
• Psychological intervention in the context of spirituality and religiosity;
• Intervention at the end of life, or in the context of trauma, chronic and/or severe illnesses, or disease.

This Research Topic has been realized in collaboration with Dr. Shoshi Keisari, Post Doctoral Researcher at the University of Padua, Italy (ORCID ID: 0000-0003-1988-7601)


Keywords: Palliative psychology, death, dying, teamwork in palliative care, assessments in palliative care, interventions in palliative care


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31 August 2021 Manuscript

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Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 August 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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