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Death and the Grieving Process in Families

  • By: Dorothy S. Becvar
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

When death occurs, the grieving process in families is influenced by the way it arrives, the cause and timing of the death, and the various relationships involved. Additional family-related factors include past experiences with death, patterns of grieving, developmental stages of individuals and the family, ethnicity, spiritual/religious orientation, and belief systems. Also significant is lack of preparation given a societal reluctance to deal with death and related issues until faced with them as a reality. After a brief discussion of the historical context of grief process theories, this entry discusses the various influences on the grieving process, desired health outcomes, and recommended interventions and support for survivors.

Historical Context

Increased professional interest in death and dying was sparked during the late 1960s by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, who focused ...

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