Bereavement Practice

Mary Sormanti

in Social Work

ISBN: 9780195389678
Published online August 2012 | | DOI:
Bereavement Practice

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Bereavement may be defined as the condition of living in the face of a loved one’s death. With estimated global death rates of more than 56 million individuals each year, this generally unwanted, yet unavoidable, experience affects a large segment of the population. With the possible exception of those who die at a young age, everyone encounters the death of a significant other at some point. Despite the unique circumstances surrounding any individual death, bereavement is often associated with significant physical and psychological morbidity. Bereaved individuals and families generally undergo emotional, cognitive, spiritual, social, and physical changes whose impact can range from short-lived and relatively mild to long-lasting and profound. These consequences are generally identified as grief. Furthermore, although grief is recognized to be especially challenging when connected with the death of a loved one, it is also experienced with many other common losses including divorce, geographic relocation, and unemployment. Understanding the fundamental features and psychosocial consequences of grief as well as the myriad contextual factors that shape how grief is experienced and expressed is essential to effective social work practice. The considerable body of theoretical and empirical knowledge regarding grief in general and bereavement specifically is growing rapidly and includes analysis and debate about features that differentiate normative adaptive responses from those that may indicate a diagnosable disorder, providing a solid foundation for both novices and seasoned professionals.

Article.  5591 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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