Self-Preservation After Loss: Factors That Contribute to Good Grief
Friday, May 23, 2014,
2:30 PM - 3:50 PM
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.