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SEARCHING FOR MEANING IN LOSS: ARE CLINICAL ASSUMPTIONS CORRECT?

SEARCHING FOR MEANING IN LOSS: ARE CLINICAL ASSUMPTIONS CORRECT? Three assumptions guiding research and clinical intervention strategies for people coping with sudden, traumatic loss are that (a) people confronting such losses inevitably search for meaning, (b) over time most are able to find meaning and put the issue aside, and (c) finding meaning is critical for adjustment or healing. We review existing empirical research that addresses these assumptions and present evidence from a study of 124 parents coping with the death of their infant and a study of 93 adults coping with the loss of their spouse or child to a motor vehicle accident. Results of these studies indicate that (a) a significant subset of individuals do not search for meaning and yet appear relatively well-adjusted to their loss; (b) less than half of the respondents in each of these samples report finding any meaning in their loss, even more than a year after the event; and (c) those who find meaning, although better adjusted than those who search but are unable to find meaning, do not put the issue of meaning aside and move on. Rather, they continue to pursue the issue of meaning as fervently as those who search but do not find meaning. Implications for both research and clinical intervention are discussed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Death Studies Taylor & Francis

SEARCHING FOR MEANING IN LOSS: ARE CLINICAL ASSUMPTIONS CORRECT?

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References (85)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1091-7683
eISSN
0748-1187
DOI
10.1080/07481180050121471
pmid
11503666
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Three assumptions guiding research and clinical intervention strategies for people coping with sudden, traumatic loss are that (a) people confronting such losses inevitably search for meaning, (b) over time most are able to find meaning and put the issue aside, and (c) finding meaning is critical for adjustment or healing. We review existing empirical research that addresses these assumptions and present evidence from a study of 124 parents coping with the death of their infant and a study of 93 adults coping with the loss of their spouse or child to a motor vehicle accident. Results of these studies indicate that (a) a significant subset of individuals do not search for meaning and yet appear relatively well-adjusted to their loss; (b) less than half of the respondents in each of these samples report finding any meaning in their loss, even more than a year after the event; and (c) those who find meaning, although better adjusted than those who search but are unable to find meaning, do not put the issue of meaning aside and move on. Rather, they continue to pursue the issue of meaning as fervently as those who search but do not find meaning. Implications for both research and clinical intervention are discussed.

Journal

Death StudiesTaylor & Francis

Published: Sep 1, 2000

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