Coping With Loss describes the many ways in which people cope with the death of someone they love.
Most earlier books on bereavement have fallen into two categories: distillations of the clinical experience of individual therapists or collections of chapters reporting the results of empirical studies. Each category is valuable but has tended to serve a narrow group of readers--practitioners with particular theoretical orientations or researchers in quest of the latest findings. Coauthored by a leading research psychologist and an experienced therapist who specializes in bereavement education and intervention, this book is different. The authors weave together the strands of theory, research, and clinical wisdom into a seamless and readable narrative.
While they discuss previous work, they also present new data, never before published, from one of the largest studies of bereaved people ever conducted, the Bereavement Coping Project. Unlike most studies to date, which focused on only one type of bereaved group (usually widows or widowers), the Bereavement Coping Project examined the experiences of several different groups during the first l8 months after the death. The groups included those who had lost a spouse, a parent, an adult sibling, or a child; and those who had lost their significant other to cancer or cardiovascular disease on one hand as opposed to the stigmatized disease of AIDS on the other.
The book begins with a critical overview of theories of bereavement; succeeding chapters explore in depth the impact of specific types of loss, the impact of particular coping strategies on recovery; the impact of social supports and religion, and the special cases of children and of people who seem to grow and change for the better after a loss. A final chapter considers implications for intervention with bereaved people.
Each chapter is richly illuminated with real-life examples throughout and ends with a section called "Voices" in which bereaved people describe their various attempts to cope in their own words. Insightful and informative.
"The focus on different types of bereavement within a single project makes this book especially interesting and valuable.
"Susan Nolen-Hoeksema and Judith Larson have done a masterful job integrating theory, research, and clinically astute advice in their study of coping with bereavement. The voices of the bereaved husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, and sons and daughters that are woven into the text add richness to the thoughtful scientific presentation. Coping With Loss will be an important resource for both academics and practitioners in the fields of coping and bereavement for many years to come."
—Susan Folkman, Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco
"This is an insightful and compelling analysis of the phenomena of grief and bereavement, drawing as it does on knowledge acquired from a scholarly and sensitive research project. Space is given not only to the facts and figures of bereavement, but also to the voices of the bereaved themselves. These aspects combine to provide novel understanding of many aspects of bereavement. Essential reading for researchers and practitioners alike, and appropriate too for the bereaved and those who care for them. Sensitive scholarship at its best. A landmark in the field of coping with bereavement."
—Margaret Stroebe, Ph.D.
Utrecht University, The Netherlands
"Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, one of psychology's most distinguished clinical researchers, joins bereavement therapist-educator Judith Larson in a sensitive analysis of how people cope with a loved one's death. Together, they track more than 300 people's bereavement experiences across circumstance and time. The result--a rare marriage of scientific scholarship with the personal voices of those studied--is a valuable resource for psychologists, ministers, and hospice workers, and for anyone seeking to sift the myths and realities of grieving."
—David G. Myers, Ph.D.
Contents: Preface. Perspectives on Loss. The Special Challenges of Different Types of Losses. Coping and Personality. Social Support. Children and Grief. Growth and Resilience Following Loss. Interventions. Appendix.