Year: 2013 Source: Death Studies.(2006).30(8):715-738.DOI: 10.1080/07481180600848322 SIEC No: 20130734

Drawing on attachment theory and constructivist conceptualizations of bereavement, the authors assessed the relation between continuing bonds coping and meaning reconstruction following the death of a loved one and complicated grief symptomatology. Five hundred six young adults in the first two years of bereavement from a variety of losses completed the Inventory of Complicated Grief along with measures of the strength of their ongoing attachment to the deceased and their capacity to make sense of the loss, find benefit in the experience, and reconstruct a progressive sense of identity following the death. Several variables concerning the survivor, his or her relationship to the deceased, and the nature of the death functioned as risk factors for heightened distress, but their role was generally moderated by meaning-making, often to the point of non-significance. In contrast, higher levels of benefit-finding and positive identity change were associated with lower levels of bereavement complication. Finally, an interaction emerged between sense-making and ongoing attachment to the deceased, suggesting that strong continuing bonds predicted greater levels of traumatic and especially separation distress, but only when the survivor was unable to make sense of the loss in personal, practical, existential, or spiritual terms.

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