Bereavement and Health: The Psychological and Physical Consequences of Partner Loss

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Does the popular notion of a 'broken heart' have some grounding in reality? How can grief affect the body in ways that necessitate medical care and may even be life-threatening? Bereavement and Health constitutes a comprehensive review of what is known about the impact of bereavement on surviving partners. Drawing on the work of psychologists, sociologists, epidemiologists, and psychiatrists, Wolfgang and Margaret Stroebe offer a theoretically coherent perspective focused on conjugal loss. After a thorough discussion of stress and depression models of bereavement, the authors present their own theoretical approach, emphasizing social contacts and the interpersonal nature of grief. They then examine the psychological and medical consequences of bereavement: Are the bereaved at higher risk than those who have not lost a partner? What has research revealed about the causes, symptoms, and outcomes of grief? Key questions about recovery from grief are also addressed: Is the health risk of bereavement severe enough to have lasting or even fatal consequences? Is it possible to identify those bereaved who are at high risk before their health suffers? What are the strategies that are most likely to lead to effective coping? Can attempts at intervention be effective? The Stroebes' combination of theoretical integration and methodological rigor will make Bereavement and Health a standard text for years to come.