Beyond the Myths of Coping with Loss: Prevailing Assumptions Versus Scientific Evidence

Camille B. Wortman, Kathrin Boerner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This chapter reviews those developments in the field of bereavement that have led to changes in prevailing views about how people cope with the loss of a loved one. The first section provides a brief review of the most influential theories of grief and loss. Some of these theories have contributed to the myths of coping, whereas others have helped generate new questions about the grieving process. The second section discusses each myth of coping, summarizing available evidence and highlighting ways in which myths have changed over time as research evidence has accumulated. The final section discusses the implications of this work for researchers, clinicians, and the bereaved themselves. In so doing, it considers the efficacy of grief counseling or therapy. It also addresses the question of what physicians, funeral directors, employers, and friends can do to support the bereaved in their efforts to deal with loss.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Health Psychology
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199940400
ISBN (Print)9780195342819
StatePublished - 18 Sep 2012


  • Bereavement
  • Coping
  • Death
  • Grief
  • Grieving
  • Loss


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