Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952576 | Print ISBN: 9780761923602 | Online ISBN: 9781412952576| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Bereavement and Health
Tanya R. Fitzpatrick
This entry examines the impact of bereavement throughout the life span as it relates to physical and mental health. A discussion of bereavement events will focus attention on the meaning of these losses through relevant theoretical perspectives and other bereavement-related factors such as gender, mortality, stress, health, and social support. In general, bereavement is usually followed by a normal but painful adjustment to the loss. The bereavement process may become complicated as symptoms of depression frequently overlap with normal reactions to bereavement such as sleep disturbance, crying, weight loss, concentration difficulties, and anger or aggression. A factor associated with normal bereavement is the preexistence of life stressors that may coincide with the bereavement experience, such as low socioeconomic status, poor physical health, and the unavailability of a confidant. Physical health expressions may include a hollow feeling in the stomach, tightness in the chest and throat, dry mouth, sensitivity to noise, ...