Meaning in Bereavement

  • Robert A. NeimeyerEmail author
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 56)


Viewing suffering following the death of a loved one from a meaning systems perspective, this chapter reviews research that links secular and spiritual struggles to find meaning in loss to prolonged and preoccupying grief, and successful sense making and benefit finding to human resilience. Across a range of bereaved groups (e.g., young adults, older adults, parents, African American survivors of a loved one’s homicide), complicated grief has been associated with or prospectively predicted by an inability to find meaning in the loss and in one’s life in its aftermath. The chapter goes on to review quantitative and qualitative measures of integration of the loss into one’s meaning system and coding procedures for identifying specific meanings made of this unwelcome life transition. The intent of such work is to pave the way for more nuanced research on the global suffering engendered by bereavement and on the effectiveness of interventions to ameliorate it.


Bereavement Grief Meaning making Sense making Benefit finding Spiritual struggle 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Faculty of PsychologyUniversity of MemphisMemphisUSA

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