Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Dorothy S. Becvar
Bereavement refers to the experience of loss of a person through death. Grief is the most typical response of survivors to bereavement, while mourning is the expression by the bereaved of thoughts and feelings in culturally patterned ways. In our society, typical responses include confusion, despair, forgetfulness, sleep disturbances, extended periods of crying, and a variety of physical symptoms. The range and intensity of grief reactions vary as a function of the family position and life stages of the people involved, the nature of their relationships, and the manner in which the death occurred. (See Death and Dying for a discussion of the latter.) When a child dies, parents generally are stunned by the violation of their presumption that children don't die, that they should bury their parents. Lost as well are parental hopes and dreams for the dead child along with belief systems about what was assumed to be ...