Resilience to loss and chronic grief: a prospective study from preloss to 18-months postloss

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2002 Nov;83(5):1150-64. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.83.5.1150.


The vast majority of bereavement research is conducted after a loss has occurred. Thus, knowledge of the divergent trajectories of grieving or their antecedent predictors is lacking. This study gathered prospective data on 205 individuals several years prior to the death of their spouse and at 6- and 18-months postloss. Five core bereavement patterns were identified: common grief, chronic grief, chronic depression, improvement during bereavement, and resilience. Common grief was relatively infrequent, and the resilient pattern most frequent. The authors tested key hypotheses in the literature pertaining to chronic grief and resilience by identifying the preloss predictors of each pattern. Chronic grief was associated with preloss dependency and resilience with preloss acceptance of death and belief in a just world.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Grief*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Marriage / psychology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Social Adjustment
  • Time Factors