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Siggins, L.D. (1966). Mourning: A Critical Survey of the Literature. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 47:14-25.

(1966). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 47:14-25

Mourning: A Critical Survey of the Literature

Lorraine D. Siggins

SUMMARY

This paper describes the psycho-analytic model of intrapsychic aspects of adult reactions to the death of a loved person. Freud's description is taken as the starting-point, and a distinction is maintained between mourning and melancholia on the ground of the level to which regression proceeds. This theoretical model, however, does not account for all the phenomena empirically observed in actual mourning. These phenomena arise from the highly complicated nature of real relationships between two people; guilt, anger, helplessness, relief, emancipation, somatic symptoms, and temporary denial may all be present in the process of normal mourning. The same reactions may also appear in a markedly exaggerated fashion when the process of mourning is delayed, protracted, or intense; these cases are classified as pathological mourning. Both normal and pathological mourning are distinguished from a third phenomenon, clinically recognizable psychiatric illness precipitated by bereavement. The variety of reactions to death at succeeding phases of life is also indicated. Finally, a select classification of relevant literature is arranged under topical headings.

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