A result of a conference at the University of Trier, Germany, this volume mirrors its goals:
* to provide an overview of recent advances in research on critical life events and the losses associated with them
* to collect and stimulate new perspectives for the analysis of these events
* to compare the psychology of victims experiencing stress and losses with the psychology of observers in their reactions to victims.
Designed to prevent developmental psychological myths in the area of life crises, this collection questions, on an empirical basis, the adequacy of several widespread generalizations. At the same time its contributors attempt to draw paths to conceptualizations and theories in general psychology and social psychology which promise to be helpful in analyzing and interpreting phenomena in the field of life crises.
Contents: Preface. Part I: The Impact of Specific Life Crises and Loss Experiences. W. Stroebe, M.S. Stroebe, Bereavement and Health: Processes of Adjusting to the Loss of a Partner. S-H. Filipp, Could It Be Worse? The Diagnosis of Cancer as a Prototype of Traumatic Life Events. D. Frey, Psychological Factors Related to the Recuperation Process of Accident Patients. N.E. Adler, Abortion: A Case of Crisis and Loss? An Examination of Empirical Evidence. M. Frese, A Plea for Realistic Pessimism: On Objective Reality, Coping With Stress, and Psychological Dysfunction. D.A. Chiriboga, B.W.K. Yee, P.G. Weiler, Stress and Coping in the Context of Caring. Part II: The Impact of Views About Responsibilities and Avoidability. F. Forsterling, Antecedents and Consequences of Causal Attributions for Critical Life Events. L. Montada, Attribution of Responsibility for Losses and Perceived Injustice. K.G. Shaver, Blame Avoidance: Toward an Attributional Intervention Program. D.T. Miller, W. Turnbull, The Counterfactual Fallacy: Confusing What Might Have Been With What Ought to Have Been. Part III: Ways of Dealing With Crisis and Losses. T.A. Wills, The Role of Similarity in Coping Through Downward Comparison. S.E. Taylor, B.P. Buunk, R.L. Collins, G.M. Reed, Social Comparison and Affiliation Under Threat. M.J. Lerner, D.G. Somers, Employees' Reactions to an Anticipated Plant Closure: The Influence of Positive Illusions. S.M. Miller, Monitoring and Blunting in the Face of Threat: Implications for Adaptation and Health. C.R. Snyder, L.M. Irving, S.T. Sigmon, S. Holleran, Reality Negotiation and Valence/Linkage Self-Theories: Psychic Showdown at the "I'm OK" Corral and Beyond. Part IV: Developmental Perspectives on Coping With Loss. J. Brandtstadter, G. Renner, Coping With Discrepancies Between Aspirations and Achievements in Adult Development: A Dual-Process Model. M.J. Lerner, M.A.M. Gignac, Is It Coping or Is It Growth? A Cognitive-Affective Model of Contentment in the Elderly. Part V: Searching for Protective Factors. C.B. Wortman, R.C. Silver, Reconsidering Assumptions About Coping With Loss: An Overview of Current Research. R.A. Dienstbier, Mutual Impacts of Toughening on Crises and Losses. S. Epstein, Constructive Thinking and Mental and Physical Well-Being. H.W. Bierhoff, Trust and Trustworthiness. R. Schwarzer, A. Leppin, Social Support and Mental Health: A Conceptual and Empirical Overview. Part VI: Understanding Social Responses to Victims. J.E. Lydon, M.P. Zanna, The Cost of Social Support Following Negative Life Events: Can Adversity Increase Commitment to Caring in Close Relationships? B. Krahe, Coping With Rape: A Social Psychological Perspective. T.B Herbert, C. Dunkel-Schetter, Negative Social Reactions to Victims: An Overview of Responses and Their Determinants. METHODOLOGICAL COMMENT: R.M. Dawes, Quandary: Correlation Coefficients and Contexts.