Beyond the Myths of Coping with Loss: Prevailing Assumptions Versus Scientific Evidence

Camille B. Wortman and Kathrin Boerner

in The Oxford Handbook of Health Psychology

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195342819
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Beyond the Myths of Coping with Loss: Prevailing Assumptions Versus Scientific Evidence

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This chapter reviews those developments in the field of bereavement that have led to changes in prevailing views about how people cope with the loss of a loved one. The first section provides a brief review of the most influential theories of grief and loss. Some of these theories have contributed to the myths of coping, whereas others have helped generate new questions about the grieving process. The second section discusses each myth of coping, summarizing available evidence and highlighting ways in which myths have changed over time as research evidence has accumulated. The final section discusses the implications of this work for researchers, clinicians, and the bereaved themselves. In so doing, it considers the efficacy of grief counseling or therapy. It also addresses the question of what physicians, funeral directors, employers, and friends can do to support the bereaved in their efforts to deal with loss.

Keywords: Bereavement; grieving; grief; death; loss; coping

Article.  32292 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Health Psychology

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