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Project to Understand Reactions to Loss

Our NIMH research on bereavement attempts to understand the different patterns of outcomes people experience in response to loss.

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The Project to Understand Reactions to Loss (PURL)

The death of a spouse can be a painful and confusing experience.

Our research has shown, however, that not everybody grieves in the same way. Some people suffer for a period of months and then gradually recover and move on. Others suffer acutely in the immediate aftermath of the loss but seem to recover more quickly. However, some individuals suffer from prolonged grief reactions that impact their overall functioning for years. Unfortunately, at present little is known about the factors that predict who will suffer from prolonged grief and who will not, or about the deficits that accompany prolonged grief reactions.

This study is the second phase of a broader agenda to understand the development of prolonged grief and other types of reactions to loss with an eye toward informing new directions in assessment and intervention.

There is still a great deal to learn about grief and bereavement and we are currently seeking volunteers to participate in this study and help us learn more about these important experiences.