Loss and Meaning: How Do People Make Sense of Loss?

  • Davis C
  • Nolen-Hoeksema S
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People who have lost a loved one often try to make some meaning of their loss. The authors explore the ways people try to make meaning of loss, the factors that predict difficulty in making meaning, and the emotional outcomes of finding meaning. They also contrast the process of finding meaning with finding some benefit in the loss, even if meaning cannot be found. Our discussion centers on a study of 205 bereaved people who were interviewed before their loss and 1, 6, 13, and 18 months after their loss. The authors draw conclusions from this work not only for bereavement theories but also for general theories of adjustment in social and personality psychology.

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  • Christopher G. Davis

  • Susan Nolen-Hoeksema

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