Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 111-112

Anticipatory Grief

  • Rachel HibberdAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University Missouri-St. Louis 1 University Boulevard
  • , Rachel WamserAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University Missouri-St. Louis 1 University Boulevard
  • , Brian VandenbergAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University Missouri-St. Louis 1 University Boulevard

Synonyms

Anticipatory bereavement; Anticipatory mourning

Definition

Anticipatory grief encompasses the emotional, psychological, and interpersonal processes of confronting the imminent loss of a terminally ill loved one. Some authors argue that the term anticipatory grief should be reserved for the acute emotional and cognitive reaction to loss, while anticipatory mourning is more appropriately used to describe the larger processes of confronting the loss, including grief, coping, planning, and psychosocial reorganization [6]. The term “anticipatory grief” will be used here in a broad sense, referring to all aspects of an individual’s response to impending loss.

Description

Erich Lindemann introduced the term “anticipatory grief” in his seminal 1944 article “Symptomatology and the Management of Acute Grief.” Since then, the concept has generated considerable controversy – whether it exists, how it differs from post-loss grief, and whether it impedes or facilitat ...

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