Motivation and emotion/Book/2018/Bereavement and emotion
What emotions are involved in bereavement and how can they be managed?
"‘‘Grieving is crucial, necessary and unavoidable for successful adaptation.‘‘ (Malkinson, 1996 as cited in Schut & Storebe, 2010)
Bereavement has been defined as the action of losing a loved one which can affect the emotional wellbeing of the individual. Studies on bereavement mainly focus on losing a spouse or partner (Martikainen & Valkonen, 1996), experiencing perinatal loss (Killeen, 2014) and losing a family member (Coombs, Mitchell & Wetzig, 2016).
What is Bereavement Emotion?
Emotions are reactions to the environment, which generate feelings, arouses the body to action, generates motivational states and produces recognisable facial expressions (Reeve, 2015). Emotions are experienced on an everyday basis where some emotions may be stronger than others and are organised around two motivation systems. One being appetitive and the other being defensive where both are for survival purposes (Bradley, Codispoti, Cuthbert & Lang, 2001. Cross-cultural research has demonstrated that emotions are universal and can be identified by people living in different cultures. The six emotions that are universal include disgust, sadness, happiness, surprise, fear and anger (Reeve, 2015). There give bereavement emotion are Grief, Sadness, Disbelief, Guilt, Anger and Fear (Robinson, Segal, Smith & 2018). These are the bereavement emotions as they are emotions which are felt during the bereavement process.
Grief is the most common emotion that is felt when one experiences bereavement. Grief can lead onto the development of other emotions such as guilt, feeling of loss and anger. The grieving process can continue for long periods of time and the amount of time depends on each person. There are five types of grief that an individual may experience when going through the bereavement process.
Types of Grief
Prolonged grief is primarily known as Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD) as it's officially classified as a disorder within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual V (DSM V). People who suffer from PGD will experience bereavement difficulties such as having a history of prior trauma or loss, mood and anxiety disorders and insecure attachment styles (Litz & Jordan, 2014). Since symptoms of PGD may be similar to any depressive disorder, the DSM provides a section classifying the differences between the two. This is incorporated for health care professionals to not misinterpret a disorder or to diagnose the wrong disorder. Although, there is a dedicated section within the DSM V for PGD, the criteria is still developing where many studies emphasise on proposing new criteria for PGD (Aslan, Block, Boelen, First, Horowitz,Jacob, Johnson, Kissane, Litz, Maercker, Neimeyer, Prigerson & Raphael, 2009).
Doka (2004) defines this form of grief as the grief experienced by those who incur a loss that is not or cannot be openly acknowledged, publicly mourned or socially supported. This can lead to the bereaver to socially isolate themselves from others due to no social support. Examples of disenfranchised grief include the loss of a pet, death of a friend and the loss of a home. It can be difficult for society to understand this form of grief, as on a social level, norms acknowledge that every society has grieving rules which determine who may grieve losses and in what ways (Doka, 2002). In this case, it may not suitable for a person to grieve over the loss of a pet or home.
Complicated grief is a form of grief where individuals may experience grief for periods of longer than one year. Schemas are ‘categories’ or ‘folders’ in our minds which hold information on things, people and situations. Studies have investigated the effects of maladaptive schemas (EMSs) in relation to complicated grief and bereavement. Since complicated grief is a long term form of grief, researchers have suggested that this may be due to the cognition of the individual. Holland & Thimm (2017) found that negative EMSs are associated with elevated complicated grief systems and as a result lead to difficulties integrating with the loss.
Traumatic grief isform of grief that is unexpectedly experienced such as the sudden death of a close family member. This form of grief can severely impact the bereavers life as it will cause significant psychological trauma that may lead to stress reactions due the loss of the family member. This may be experienced when witnessing the death of a family member and can be linked to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In fact, traumatic grief has been considered as a risk factor for mental and physical morbidity (Beery, Bierhals, Day, Kasl, Jacobs, Jason Newsom, Prigerson, Reynolds & Shear, 1997). Symptoms of traumatic grief include insomnia or nightmares, difficulty socilaising or functioning and strong feelings of personal responsibility for the death (Brake, 2013).
Anger & Aggression
The emotion of anger can transform into the behaviour of aggression. Aggression is a violent behaviour that can cause physical harm to others and due to this behavioural management programs are developed for those who suffer from aggression. There is little research detailing the relationship of aggression with bereavement, as most psychological studies focus on bereavement with the emotions of sorrow, sadness and grief (Hasui & Kitamura, 2004). Bereavement is also known to occur for individuals who are older, however a child may also experience bereavement of a parental figure. Where,the loss of a parental figure can lead to teen aggression (Brent, Hamdon, Mazariegos, Melhem & Porta, 2012). Although, aggression isn’t the most researched emotion throughout the bereavement process it is important to consider this emotion as the signs of aggression are highly linked towards mental disorders.
|Experimental study one|
Theories are responsible for examining information based on facts which are then backed up with appropriate hypothesis and research. There are two theoretical frameworks which have been applied towards bereavement. The first theoretical framework is the Dual Process Model of Coping (DPM of Coping) and the second being the Kubler-Ross Model of Grief.
This model was developed to provide a better account for the coping processes that are involved with bereavement (Fasse & Zach, 2016). The grief work hypothesis states that people need to confront their loss in order to go over the events before and after the death (Stroebe & Schut, 2008). Coping refers to the processes, strategies or styles of managing the situation when bereavement is being experienced (Schut & Stroebe, 2008). There are two types of coping mechanisms in the DPM of coping and are loss orientation and restoration orientation coping mechanisms. Loss orientation coping involves dealing with and working on the loss itself (e.g., crying about the death) , whereas restoration-oriented coping is utilising coping mechanisms by mastering individual processes (e.g., reorganising life) (Stroebe & Schut, 2008). The process of oscillation occurs where the individual experiencing bereavement will either face reality or avoid reality. It is up to the decisions made by the individual on whether they will undergo a loss-oriented or restoration - orientation behaviour. By choose either of these behaviours, will determine whether the individual will successfully move on from the loss. There are a few studies that focus on the DPM of coping, where one study applied the DPM model to the concept of coping flexibility. Coping flexibility is how adaptable a person is when coping towards certain situations. In this case, how flexible a person is with developing and creating coping strategies to deal with the loss. Where, Cheng (2003) found that participants who were motivated to seek coping strategies were more likely to encode stressful situations in a differentiated way. It is important to consider how adaptable a person is and how flexible they are affectively, cognitively and behaviourally. As it provides an insight to how they function psychologically and how psychologically ‘healthy’ they are.
The Kubler-Ross theory of Grief is responsible for determining the stages of grief that individuals may face. Health professionals such as nurses and midwives may have particular interest within this theory. As, it may be used as a learning material to guide them into understanding the stages of grief in older individuals. There are five stages to this theory and are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These stages follow through the emotional and psychological journey of the bereaver.
Emotional Management Techniques and Counselling
There are two techniques that people who are experiencing bereavement may use. The first being family centred and grief counselling, where both can be used together to assist the individual experiencing bereavement. These two counselling methods are more focused on therapists or counsellors providing support and being understandable. While the other technique, emotional management focuses more on the bereaver to manage their own emotions.
Family centred Counselling and Grief Counselling
Bereavement will usually effectmore than one person, for example if a family which consists of a mother, father, son and daughter has lost their mother then this can lead to stress onto the whole family. Family centred counselling is counselling or therapy that involves the whole family with the use counselling techniques to resolve the problem. Family centred counselling is not only used on individuals who are experiencing bereavement but also those in different circumstances. Grief counselling involves a therapist or counsellor which will assist the bereaver by providing daily tasks, providing support and understanding their situation. Tasks are given to distract the bereaver from reminding themselves about the death. While the bereaver is still receiving support from the therapist or counsellor to ensure that they are not alone. The goal in grief counselling is not to produce absolute improvement that will endure over time but to accelerate natural healing process (Hoyt & Larson, 2009). Both family centred and grief counselling can be used together to support the bereaver or bereavers and to ensure there is no development of a mental disorder.
|Experimental Study Two|
Emotional differentiation is having knowledge of your own emotional experiences which can lead to healthy psychological functioning (Ceulemans, Erbas, Houben, Kalokerinos, Koval & Leuvan 2018). It involves managing, understanding and recognising your own and other people's emotions which can assist with coping during bereavement. Research suggests that when a person experiences their emotions with more granuality they are less likely to show maladaptive self-regulatory activities such as aggression and binge drinking (Barrett, Kashdan & Mcknight, 2015). Furthermore, emotion differentiation has also been used to determine how people who are diagnosed with mental disorders understand their emotions. This is completed through the techniques of self-report methods across situations of emotions during the mental disorder (Kang & Shaver, 2004 as cited in Barrett, Kashdan & Mcknight, 2015). Teaching individuals to understand their emotions and others can assist with the bereavement process. So that, the bereaversemotions such as anger or grief does not become a problem where it effects their psychological functioning . If, the emotions are not controlled then it can lead to the development of mental disorders. This is demonstrated as many studies focusing on emotional differentiation look at this within anxiety and depressive disorders.
- Bereavement is an event throughout a person's life which will produce negative emotions, where these emotions can affect the psychological well-being of the mourner
- Emotions are experienced on an everyday basis where some emotions may be stronger than others. They are organised around two motivation systems one being appetitive and the other being defensive where both are for survival purposes
- A variety of emotions are felt throughout this period but the main few are grief, distress, sadness and anger
- Theories focus either on the stages of bereavement or how to cope with bereavement. These theories are the DPM of coping and Kubler-Ross Model of Grief.
- Counselling and emotional differentiation are two treatment methods that can be used for those who are suffering from Bereavement.
- In the future, if studies were to focus on bereavement and emotion it is suggested that there is a focus on anger and the bereavement process .
- Depression (mood) (Wikipedia)
- Grief (Wikipedia)
- Coping (psychology) (Wikipedia)
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- Stillbirth and Emotion Book 2017
- Death and Emotion Book 2014
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