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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Focusing on Loss Prolongs Grief

Dr. George Bonanno, a professor of clinical psychology, recently presented his research on distress over grief at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.  He and colleagues have studied the topic for more than a decade, using interview data as well as standardized measurements including facial expressions, to determine how individuals cope with grief.  Bonanno's research indicates that about 85% of people adequately cope with their grief within a year or two.

Research that points to the conflicting views on dealing with tragic loss either head-on or with a more low-key approach is at the core of Bonanno's work.  According to his findings, "Research shows pretty clearly that the more people focus on the loss, the more prolonged their grief will be."

The article, entitled "The Case for Not Facing Death Head-On," appeared in the June 3 edition of Career Journal

 

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