As part of a longitudinal study of bereavement phenomena in three groups, bereaved spouses, bereaved adult children and bereaved parents, scale development was carried out using a pool of bereavement phenomenology questions administered prospectively. The items were derived from the literature, in particular studies dealing with the measurement of grief/bereavement, as well as from clinical experience. Factor analysis of theoretically grouped items produced seven subscales, three of which tapped frequently experienced phenomena in the bereaved. These three subscales formed the basis of a single measure, labelled the Core Bereavement Items (CBI), which demonstrated high reliability and sound face and discriminant validity. Preliminary analysis suggested that the CBI will prove to be a reliable and valid instrument with respect to the measure of core bereavement phenomena in commonly bereaved groups in Western society.