Digital Public Defence: Lisa Victoria Burrell

MPhil Lisa Victoria Burrell at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis “Parental death by external causes and psychosocial sequelae in bereaved offspring” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

Click here to participate in the public defence

Download Zoom here

Due to copyright reasons, an electronic copy of the thesis must be ordered from the faculty. In order for the faculty to have time to process the order, it must be received by the faculty no later than 2 days prior to the public defence. Orders received later than 2 days before the defence will not be processed. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.

Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

See Digital Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Fang Fang, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
  • Second opponent: Senior Research Fellow Karl Andriessen, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Trond Heir, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Emeritus Berit Grøholt, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Professor Ping Qin, University of Oslo


Children who have lost a parent due to external causes of death have increased risks of long-term psychosocial sequelae.

Losing a parent to external causes of death such as suicide, accidents and homicide is one of the most significant life events that children and adolescents can experience. There is still limited knowledge regarding the long-term risks of psychosocial problems associated with bereavement, and potential differences between different aspects of the death specifically needs investigation. 

The aim of the thesis was to investigate the long-term risks of several psychosocial problems in people who had experienced parental death by external causes in childhood compared to people who had not experienced parental bereavement due to external causes. Register data from four national registers were combined, and children were studied from birth and into adulthood.  

Compared to people who had not experienced parental death by external causes, people who had experienced such loss had significantly increased risks of lower educational attainment at all levels, needing hospital treatment for deliberate self-harm (DSH), being diagnosed with a range of psychiatric disorder and psychiatric comorbidity.

Parental suicide was associated with higher risks of DSH hospitalization and psychiatric disorders compared to other external causes of death. In addition, this thesis is the first to study bereavement from different accidents and found that parental death by accidental falls and poisonings are associated with higher risks in the bereaved offspring compared to parental death by transport accidents. 

Increased risks of psychosocial problems were found in both daughters and sons, after losing a mother and father and following loss throughout childhood and adolescence.

The extensive and long-lasting sequelae following parental bereavement emphasise the importance of a multi-faceted, comprehensive, and long-term follow-up of this vulnerable group. 

Additional information

Contact the research support staff.

Published Dec. 1, 2021 12:38 PM - Last modified Dec. 14, 2021 9:10 AM