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Pollock, G.H. (1985). Recovery from Bereavement: By Colin Murray Parkes and Robert S. Weiss. New York: Basic Books, 1983. 329 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 54:659-662.
(1985). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 54:659-662
Recovery from Bereavement: By Colin Murray Parkes and Robert S. Weiss. New York: Basic Books, 1983. 329 pp.
Review by: George H. Pollock
The authors of this volume are well-known, highly respected investigators in their area of expertise, bereavement. This new book is a continuation of their ongoing research. The special focus is a study of widows and widowers and how they coped with the stress of losing a spouse. Parkes's 1972 publication on bereavement is already a classic. In 1974, Glick, Weiss, and Parkes published The First Year of Bereavement. Weiss carried the research further in his books, Marital Separation and Going It Alone. Now Parkes and Weiss focus on recovery from bereavement in a report of a systematic attempt to discover the roots of recovery.
They correctly note that there is a wide spectrum of responses to loss. Bereavement is the reaction to the loss through death. However, as I have suggested elsewhere, bereavement is one aspect of the mourning-liberation process, which is seen in many "loss" situations and not limited exclusively to death. Furthermore, in my own ongoing research, I find there are different bereavement responses, depending on many variables (e.g., the psychological meaning of the one who dies to the survivor, the age of the survivor, prior relationship, prior mourningprocesses, etc.). In my own work, I find general similarities in the mourning-liberation process, but some important differences between the loss of a child, a spouse, a sibling, or a parent. Furthermore, the elderly may deal differently with loss experiences than do children or young adults. Parkes had addressed aspects of this issue by comparing reactions to the loss of a limb, loss of work, and loss of a person.
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