Grief Definitions Research Papers Example

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Grief, Death, Psychology, Life, Emotions, Loved One, Study, Love

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/10/01

Following the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines

According to Colin Murray and Holly G. Prigerson, authors of, “Bereavement: Studies of Grief in Adult Life,” bereavement is the period of longing and loneliness an individual feels after a loved one has died . Bereavement has several different forms. Each one can impact the remaining relatives and loved ones of the deceased in negative ways. Bereavement itself is a normal reaction to the loss of a loved one or the death of somebody a person knew . It can manifest as a social, physical, emotional, or mental reaction to the loss. Social reactions include isolation, while mental reactions can include guilt, fear, anger, and sadness.

Uncomplicated Bereavement

Uncomplicated bereavement, though painful, is a process by which the bereaved moves towards living a healthier and more satisfying life after experiencing a loss . The individual still experiences the pain of losing a loved one in its many different forms but, unlike complicated grief, they are able to understand their bereavement more clearly, and take healthy steps toward their future for themselves. They indicate normal periods of adjustment in a normal period after the loss, showing an interest in investing in interpersonal relationships .


Kari Dyrregrov and associates explain in, “Positive and Negative Experiences from Grief Group Participation: A Qualitative Study,” that grief is one word encompassing many different reactions to loss, particlarly when the loss refers to death . Grief can also refer specifically to when the death impacts a bond in which affection in severed. Grief typically refers to an emotional reaction to loss and death, though it can also manifest in other forms, as well. Grief can cause individuals to act differently socially. It can also cause them to explore different spiritual and philosophical beliefs, take on different behaviors, and have an effect on physical and cognitive aspects of the individual’s life .

Complicated Grief

Much like with uncomplicated bereavement, grief goes away in time. Complicated grief, however, often becomes debilitating and does not . The individual often has difficulty accepting the feelings of loss, as well as the loss itself, and have difficulty resuming life as they normally would. Complicated grief is typically dictated by an inability to follow the normal paths to acceptance and peace.

Prolonged Grief

Prolonged grief is dictated by the intense feelings of loss that become so powerful the individual is unable to overcome them . According to Colin Murray Parkes, “Love and Loss: The Roots of Grief and its Complications,” prolonged grief keep individuals feeling stuck . They continue to yearn for the individual they have lost, feeling as though they have lost a part of themselves. They may feel they have lost a part of their identity and even lack the desire to move on.

Traumatic Grief

Traumatic grief is similar to prolonged grief. It is extreme for the individual, often affecting every area of their lives . They will lack the desire to move on, and may make irrational decisions about serious parts of their life, such as their living situation or their job and other relationships. This is a manifestation of their deep longing for the deceased individual.

Primary Loss

Primary loss is the initial cause of the loss. For example, the primary loss is the death of the individual, or their dying . Individuals often must come to terms with the primary loss of an individual before they are able to begin confronting their other feelings of grief or bereavement. If the primary loss is not understood or acknowledged, in some cases it can prohibit individuals from dealing with grief properly as they attempt to cope with death.

Ambiguous Loss

Ambiguous loss is characterized by the symptoms that follow the primary loss. There are two types of ambiguous loss: physical and psychological. For example, the body of the deceased individual being gone characterizes physical ambiguous loss. Psychological memories of the individual may remain, but they are no longer physically there to maintain the memories, and this can be confusing for the individual. It is often difficult for the living person to come to terms with this situation. Psychological ambiguous loss is characterized by the individual being dead, but their physical remains still being present . It can also be difficult to reconcile a person’s physical remains with their lack of psychological presence. In some cases, forms of ambiguous loss can prolong grief if the individual is unable to cope correctly.


Mourning describes the cultural feelings and behaviors each society participates in when a loved one dies. For example, many cultures participate in viewings, wakes, funerals, and burials. These are all behaviors that dictate periods of mourning for communities experiencing a loss. Mourning is also akin to feelings of grief over the death of a loved one.


Dyrregrov, K., Dyregrov, A., & Johnson, I. (2014). Positive and Negative Experiences from Grief Group Participation: A Qualitative Study. Journal of Death and Dying, 45-62.
Murray Parkes, C. (2013). Love and Loss: The Roots of Grief and its Complications. London: Routledge.
Murray, C., & Prigerson, H. G. (2013). Bereavement: Studies of Grief in Adult Life. London: Routledge.

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