Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences

How do loss- and restoration-oriented coping change across time? A prospective study on adjustment following spousal bereavement

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Background and objectives: According to the Dual Process Model (DPM), shifting between loss-oriented (LO) and restoration-oriented (RO) coping is essential for adjustment following bereavement. Knowledge about how LO and RO coping change over time and how such changes are related to adjustment is missing. With a prospective design this study investigated (1) relations between levels of LO/RO coping and selected outcomes and (2) changes in LO/RO coping across time and their relations to adjustment. Methods: A sample of 145 spousal bereaved individuals completed questionnaires measuring LO and RO coping, grief symptoms, positive affect, and attachment orientation approximately 2–3 months (baseline) and 7 months (follow-up) post-loss. Results: High usage of LO coping was associated with poorer outcomes and high usage of RO coping was associated with better outcomes at both baseline and follow-up. Individuals generally shifted towards more RO coping across time and those who exhibited this shift showed lower levels of grief at follow-up compared to individuals who changed towards more LO coping across time. Conclusions: Individuals showing more RO coping reported better adjustment both early and later in the bereavement process. Changes in coping orientation over time might be useful for understanding complicated grief reactions following loss.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Pages (from-to)270-285
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

    Research areas

  • Adjustment, bereavement, coping, dual process model, grief, prospective

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