Grief as a Psychological Object of Study

  • Caroline PearceEmail author


This chapter critically reviews the literature on grief and bereavement examining how grief became an object of psychological study. The review moves chronologically beginning in 1917 with Sigmund Freud’s essay ‘Mourning and Melancholia’ up to present-day debates concerning ‘complicated grief’ and ‘prolonged grief disorder.’ In this chapter Pearce argues that the dominance of psychological studies into grief has transformed grief into a problem of the individual psyche, necessitating the creation of bereavement counselling and therapies. The chapter examines the type of assumed subject on which the psychological view rests, questioning its validity. In conclusion the chapter reviews social theories of grief that have sought to describe the ways in which grief is socially shaped and constructed.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.King’s College LondonLondonUK

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