ERIC Number: EJ781657
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan
Reference Count: 39
A Modest Proposal about Bereavement and Recovery
Balk, David E.
Death Studies, v32 n1 p84-93 Jan 2008
The author argues that the term "recovery" aptly describes the trajectory following the bereavement of most persons. While the term "resilience" has gained ascendancy in the thanatology literature and the term "recovery" has been dismissed as inappropriate to denote responses over time to being bereaved, the irony is that all dictionaries of the English language, other than specialized dictionaries in such fields as psychology, define "resilience" as ability to recover quickly from a misfortune. The author argues that recovery denotes the possibility of transforming change following a major life crisis, and wonders how such an outcome would be possible for those whose response to bereavement is marked by resiliency. The author's research with bereaved teenagers and college students has demonstrated that in many of the cases there were manifestations of transforming change along spiritual, cognitive, emotional, and interpersonal lines. These changes are captured by what the author calls the reflexive meaning of the word "recovery". In a final comment the author accepts that another word than recovery may unambiguously designate the transforming change that many persons experience following bereavement. But, of course, we need to find that word, and if recovery does not suffice, then how can "resilience", a term that means quick recovery following misfortune?
Descriptors: Grief, Death, Definitions, Coping, Psychological Patterns, Emotional Response, Adolescents, College Students, Personality Traits
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A