The Prediction of Bereavement Outcome: Development of an Integrative Risk Factor Framework

Soc Sci Med. 2006 Nov;63(9):2440-51. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2006.06.012. Epub 2006 Jul 27.


We propose an integrative risk factor framework to enhance understanding of individual differences in adjustment to bereavement and to encourage more systematic analysis of factors contributing to bereavement outcome (e.g., examination of interactions between variables and establishing pathways in the adaptation process). The examination of individual differences in adaptation to bereavement is essential for practical (e.g. targeting high risk individuals for intervention) and theoretical (e.g. testing the validity of theoretical claims about sources of differences) purposes. And yet, existing theoretical approaches have not led to systematic empirical examination and empirical studies in the current literature are fraught with shortcomings. Derived from Cognitive Stress Theory [Lazarus, R. S. & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer] and the stressor-specific Dual Process Model of Coping with Bereavement [Stroebe, M. S., & Schut, H. A. W. (1999). The dual process model of coping with bereavement: Rationale and description. Death Studies, 23, 197-224], the framework incorporates an analysis of stressors, intra/interpersonal risk/protective factors, and appraisal and coping processes that are postulated to impact on outcome. Advantages of using the approach are outlined. Challenges in undertaking such research are addressed.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Bereavement*
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Risk Factors