26th APS Annual Convention: Mark Your Calendar (San Francisco, CA, USA - May 22-25, 2014)

Symposium

Self-Preservation After Loss: Factors That Contribute to Good Grief

Friday, May 23, 2014, 2:30 PM - 3:50 PM
Golden Gate 4

Chair: Nicole G. Lancaster
University of Nevada, Reno

Grief is an inexorable part of the human experience, yet our understanding of factors contributing to risk and resilience is only beginning to emerge. The four speakers of this symposium will provide novel perspectives on the processes related to grief and how they may be related to healthy outcomes after significant loss.

The nature of grief has been discussed in the psychological literature since before William James. However, extensive, systematic research on mechanism(s) that contribute to post-bereavement adjustment has been for the large part missing from this literature. Currently, the preponderance of current grief research has focused on the role of attachment style or traumatic violations of assumptive worldviews. However, new and emerging research both challenges and supports these theories and provides new directions to explore in defining the processes that contribute to risk and resilience after the death of a loved one. Each of our speakers will discuss recent advances in our understanding of grief resolution. Jason M. Holland, Ph.D. will discuss his research that examines meaning made of loss (i.e., the extent to which it “makes sense” and allows for worldviews to generally remain intact) and its impact on outcomes after loss. Anthony Papa, Ph.D. will discuss his research suggesting that grieving may be a response to the loss of important self-defining roles and not necessarily a response to loss of attachment figures. Toni Bisconti will discuss her recent research on how patterns of early adjustment in widowed older women predict distal mental health outcomes. This will then be followed by a new perspective of resilience by George A. Bonanno who will discuss how regulatory flexibility promotes resilience and recovery after loss, whereas the absence of these abilities is associated with complicated grief.

 
Subject Area: Clinical

Grief and meaning made of the loss experience
Jason M. Holland
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
This presentation will focus on a program of research that examines meaning made of loss (i.e., the extent to which it “makes sense” and allows for worldviews to generally remain intact) and its impact on grief reactions. Issues related to assessment, time course, and clinical intervention will be discussed.

Co-Author: Joseph M. Currier, University of South Alabama

Co-Author: Robert A. Neimeyer, University of Memphis


Role centrality and loss: The role of Identity stability in grieving
Anthony Papa
University of Nevada, Reno
Presents research suggests that grieving may be a response to the loss of important self-defining roles and not necessarily a response to loss of attachment figures. The implications for grief theory and intervention will be discussed.

Co-Author: Nicole G. Lancaster, University of Nevada, Reno


Understanding the relationship between short-term fluctuation in depressed mood and long-term depression in recent widows
Toni L. Bisconti
University of Akron
Widowhood is common among older women, placing them at risk for physical and psychological health problems, social isolation, poverty and death. This presentation will discuss whether patterns of early adjustment in widowed older women predict more distal mental health outcomes.

Co-Author: Rosalie J. Hall, University of Akron

Co-Author: Pascal R. Deboeck, University of Kansas

Co-Author: Mignon Montpetit, Illinois Wesleyan University

Co-Author: Sara M. Powers, University of Akron

Co-Author: Cindy S. Bergeman, University of Notre Dame


Regulatory flexibility and grief outcome
George A. Bonanno
Columbia University
Several studies are presented that examine processes associated with regulatory flexibility—coping flexibility, emotion expressive flexibility, and emotion context sensitivity—in relation to longitudinal grief outcomes. Results indicate that regulatory flexibility promotes resilience and recovery after loss, whereas the absence of these abilities is associated with complicated grief.

Co-Author: Charles L. Burton, Columbia University, Teachers College


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