Nov 26, 2020 in Coursework

Support in Bereavement

The title of the article is Partner-Oriented Self-Regulation among Bereaved Parents: The Cost of Holding in Grief for The Partners Sake. It is co-authored by Margaret Stroebe, Catrin Finkeneur, Henk Schut among others. The article attempts to unravel the impact of partner-oriented consolation in bereavement for a child. It notes that showing confidence in the face of bereavement and avoidance of conversations about the ordeal could relieve partners grief over their loss. However, the article later reveals that this assumption is in fact wrong and that not all sources of consolations help in toning down the feelings of grief. It is printed in volume 24 of the Association for Psychological Science that was authored in 2003. The publication number of the article on social science is 1177 (Margaret et al, 2013).

Review of Literature

Generally, it is assumed that partner-oriented support in bereavement helps in toning down emotions after loss of the loved ones. The assumption was based on the fact that avoidance of talking about the loss as well as exhibition of confidence by the partner significantly relieved the grieving individual of their feelings. This information formed the basis of the study by Margaret Stroebe and her colleagues. This belief was founded on the fundamental principle behind counselling and guidance. In counselling, showing another person that the challenges they face were temporary and that they would get over them is known to bring good results. It was this viewpoint that influenced the researchers formulation of a hypothesis contrary to the eventual result. They based the hypothesis on sociological assumptions (Margaret et al, 2013).

Historical Viewpoint

Historically, it is believed that the interpersonal process of bereavement is intricately related to the presence of social support. Thus, one would find it difficult to cope with bereavement if they do not get social support. This was discovered during the World War II when families of war victims suffered great stress due to the loss of their beloved ones. It took the intervention of close relatives to ease their stress level. They basically provided them with the assurance that life had to continue despite the challenges faced in life. In addition, it was based on the idea of self-regulation in bereavement. This meant that it would take personal initiative to contain pain in bereavement. In fact, others would only provide the necessary support in affirming ones own belief in overcoming the bereavement. This would make partner-oriented support an essential factor in aiding parents to cope with their feelings. However, it should be noted that the assumption did not factor in the real source of consolation. Basically, the impact of self-regulation would differ depending on the source of that consolation. This was the source of the eventual discrepancy (Margaret et al, 2013).

Research Design

In their study, these researchers followed up on obituaries that had appeared in the dailies and interviewed the couples in the affected families. In this manner, the authors managed to find couples who were actually undergoing the painful ordeal. It goes without mentioning that this group of people formed the best sample for their study given that they would not be speculating. As a matter of fact, the participants would be talking about their personal experiences with regard to partner-oriented support. It would be essential that the researchers designed the study in the unbiased manner so that their subjects would not be aware of the expected result. This would enable the researchers to obtain the outcome that is not only realistic, but also reflects the true picture of the society (Margaret et al, 2013).

Results

According to the research, it became apparent that partner-oriented support actually exacerbated grief for both partners. Instead of relieving partners pressure, it caused them greater pain by just seeing one another. In most cases, the feeling of grief persisted longer than anticipated. This was attributed to the fact that mere presence of the partner was a reminder for each other of the painful ordeal. It goes without mentioning that they felt mutual pain for one another. Thus, the partners did not really have to talk about the painful loss to stoke the embers of grief, but just needed to be together. Essentially, it was the sympathy they felt for one another that caused them all the pain. This is why it was difficult to be consoled by someone they equally sympathised with (Margaret et al, 2013).

Critical Analysis

Essentially, the attempt to regulate feelings of grief backfired in most cases. It was considered paradoxical because it totally contradicted the earlier literature that held that social support would significantly help relieve pain of loss. Perhaps, there are certain social elements that researchers did not integrate in the study. According to the authors, misattribution of the partners means of grieving could have caused the difference. It should also be noted that some couples considered avoidance of the topic as an act of indifference by their partners. This could cause them more grief instead of relieving the existing pain. In this regard, it becomes apparent that couples need to discuss the loss and agree on the common approach of dealing with it. According to this research, it appears that the source of support in bereavement matters a lot. This partly explains why support in bereavement succeeds in instances where it comes from outside the family but does not succeed if it comes from a beloved one. Basically, the partners feel greater pain because of their sympathy for their partners trying to provide consolation (Margaret et al, 2013).

In conclusion, the article Partner-Oriented Self-Regulation among Bereaved Parents: The Cost of Holding in Grief for The Partners Sake, which is co-authored by Margaret Stroebe, Catrin Finkeneur, Henk Schut among others. It is assumed that partner-oriented support in bereavement helps in toning down emotions after loss of the loved ones. The assumption was based on the fact that avoidance of talking about the loss as well as exhibition of confidence by the partners significantly relieved them of grief. This was found during the World War II when families of war victims suffered great stress due to the loss of their beloved ones. It took the intervention of close relatives to ease their stressful situation. They basically provided the grieving individuals with the assurance that life had to continue despite the drawbacks faced in life. In this study, the researchers followed up on obituaries that had appeared in the dailies and interviewed the couples in the affected families. In this manner, they managed to find couples who were actually undergoing the painful ordeal. According to their research, it became apparent that partner-oriented support actually exacerbated grief for both partners. Instead of relieving partners pain, it caused them greater suffering by just seeing one another. In most cases, the feeling of grief persisted longer than anticipated. It was considered paradoxical because it totally contradicted the earlier literature that held that social support would significantly help relieve the pain of loss. However, it could be true that the source of consolation could affect the outcome of consolation in bereavement.

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