Searching for meaning in loss: Are clinical assumptions correct?

Title

Searching for meaning in loss: Are clinical assumptions correct?

Creator

Davis CG; Wortman CB; Lehman DR; Silver RC

Publisher

Death Studies

Date

2000

Subject

Child; Adult; Parents; Death; Research; infant; coping; Meaning

Description

Three assumptions guiding research and clinical intervention strategies for people coping with sudden, traumatic loss are that (a) people confronting such losses inevitably search for meaning, (b) over time most are able to find meaning and put the issues aside, and (c) finding meaning is critical for adjustment or healing. We review existing empirical research that addresses these assumptions and present evidence from a study of 124 parents coping with the death of their infant and a study of 93 adults coping with the loss of their spouse or child to a motor vehicle accident. Results of these studies indicate that (a) a significant subset of individuals do not search for meaning and yet appear relatively well-adjusted to their loss; (b) less than half of the respondents in each of these samples report finding any meaning in their loss, even more than a year after the event; and (c) those who find meaning, although better adjusted than those who search but are unable to find meaning, do not put the issue of meaning aside and move on. Rather, they continue to pursue the issue of meaning as fervently as those who search but do not find meaning. Implications for both research and clinical intervention are discussed.
2000

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Type

Journal Article

Citation List Month

Backlog

Pages

497-500

Volume

24

Citation

Davis CG; Wortman CB; Lehman DR; Silver RC, “Searching for meaning in loss: Are clinical assumptions correct?,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed August 3, 2021, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/12090.

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