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The study of human behavior. A complex science of understanding how and why individuals react to certain conditions or stimuli.



The study of human behavior as it relates to the funeral service.

Funeral service psychology


An emotion or group of emotions caused by loss. Includes sadness, anger, helplessness, guilt, despair.

The process of psychological, social, and sometimes somatic reactions to the perception of loss.



The act or event of loss that results in the experience of grief.



An adjustment process that involves grief or sorrow over a period of time and helps in the recognition of the life of an individual following the loss or death of someone loved.



Feelings such as happiness, anger and grief created by brain patterns and bodily changes.



Any behavior people develop and maintain that enables them to be close to another individual.

Attachment behavior


A set of symptoms associated with loss.

Grief syndome


A process occurring with loss, aimed at loosening the attachment to the dead for reinvesting in the living.

The cognitive process of confronting a loss, of going over the events before and at the time of death, focusing on memories and working toward detachment of the deceased. It requires an active, ongoing, effortful attempt to come to terms with loss.

Grief work


1. Denial
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's 5 stages in the process of dying


A defense mechanism by which a person is unable or refuses to see things as they are because such facts are threatening to oneself.



Blame directed at another person.



Attempting to make deals with God to stop or change the diagnosis by begging, wishing, praying not to die, or at least delay death.



Overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, frustration, bitterness, self-pity, mourning the impeding loss of hopes, dreams, and plans for the future. May feel a lack of control or numbness.



Knowing the impeding death is real, not liking the fact, but realizing you must go on.



1. To accept the reality of loss.
2. To experience the pain of grief and to express emotions associated with it.
3. To adjust to the environment in which the deceased is missing.
4. To withdraw emotional energy and reinvest it in another relationship.

William Worden's 4 tasks of mourning.


*Humans have an instinctive need to form strong attachments to others
*Attachments come from a need for security and safety.
*Situations that endanger the bond of attachment give rise to emotional reactions.
*The greater the potential loss, the more intense the reaction.

Bowlby' Theory of Attachment


Helping people facilitate grief to a healthy completion of the tasks of grieving within a reasonable time frame.

Grief counseling


Specialized techniques which are used to help people with complicated grief reactions.

Grief therapy


Energy of love and pleasure.



1. Somatic (bodily) distress
2. Preoccupation with the image of the deceased
3. guilt
4. Hostile reactions
5. Loss of patterns of conduct (inability to function as before the loss).
6. Developing traits of the deceased in their own behavior

Lindemann's 5 (6th noted) Characteristics of grief


1. How the bereaved perceives the loss
2. The bereaved's age
3. The age of the person who died
4. The degree to which the bereaved was prepared for the death
5. The bereaved's inner strength and outer resources
6. The nature of the relationship with the person who died.

Influences of the uniqueness of a person's grief


1. Feelings
2. Physical sensations
3. Cognitions
4. Behaviors

Worden's grief characteristic categories


Sadness, anger, guilt, self-reproach, anxiety, loneliness, fatigue, helplessness, shock, yearning, emancipation, relief, numbness.



Hallowness in the stomach, tightness in the chest or throat, shortness of breath, oversensitivity to noise, weakness of the muscles, lack of energy, dry mouth, and a sense of depersonalization.

Physical sensations


Disbelief, preoccupation with the thoughts of the deceased, a deeply felt presence of the deceased, occasionally via visual or auditory means.



Sleep and/or appetite disturbances, social withdraw, absent minded behavior, restless overactivity, crying, sighing, searching and calling out, dreaming of the deceased, avoiding reminders of the deceased, or treasuring the objects that belonged to the deceased.



1. Shock and disbelief
2. Developing awareness
3. Restitution
4. Resolving the loss
5. Idealization
6. The outcome

Engel's 6 step Model of grief


Funerary rituals that evoke social support from family and friends.



An unwillingness to acknowledge that the loss has occurred.



What relationships should be considered more painful.

Societal standards


1. Emancipation from the bondage of the deceased
2. Readjustment to the environment in which the deceased is missing
3. Formation of new relationships

Lindemann's 3 tasks of grief


Human bonds, object bonds, abstractions (such as power and prestige) give rise to real and lasting beliefs and responses in how grievers conduct their lives. When one of these people dies, the remaining person has to withdraw the emotional energy that was invested in the person who is no longer alive.

Emancipation from bondage of the deceased


Bereaved take on responsibilities the deceased had once fulfilled. Activities once enjoyed are no longer attractive or interesting. Faced to make decisions. Frustrated, angry, appear preoccupied, throw themselves into activities that previous held only mild enjoyment.

Readjustment to the environment in which the deceased is missing


Energy once invested in the deceased must now be redirected toward people and/or activities that can return the investment.

Formation of new relationships


1. The preexisting relationship between the bereaved and the deceased
2. The type of death
3. Previous losses

Raphael's 3 determinants of grief umbrella categories


The greater the bereaved's dependence on the deceased (for identity, survival, or social standing), the greater the chances that grief will be intense and the outcome or mourning may be less than optimal.

The preexisting relationship


Natural and advanced warning of death gives people the opportunity to engage in interactions and gestures with or toward the dying person that enhanced the relationship and facilitated closure. Sudden or untimely deaths are more difficult.

Type of death


Refers to ways grievers mourned or failed to mourn prior losses. How the bereaved perceived and responded to these events.

Previous losses


Loss of a person.

Object loss


Loss of the individuals role.

Role loss


Rights of the lifting of mourning.



Ideal context

Death surround


Those that occur, and as a direct result of, the loved one's death.

Secondary losses


Refers to a certain bereaved individual who derive such pleasure from the attention and sympathy they receive as mourners that the grieving process is actually extended in order to avoid losing the attention.



Those that are outside the bereaved, include the social structure of the family and the overall society around the bereaved, which consists of any and all structures in which the bereaved is a member.

Sociological factors


Chemicals in the human brain that create feelings of well being.



1. Cultural guilt
2. Casual guilt
3. Moral guilt
4. Survival guilt
5. Recovery guilt

5 types of guilt bereaved parents may experience


Society expects parents to be guardians of their children and to take care of them.

Cultural guilt


If the parent was responsible for the death of a child through some real or perceived negligence. (This could also be from an inherited psychological disorder).

Casual guilt


Feeling that the death of the child was due to a moral infraction in his or her present or earlier life experience. This could be residual from a terminated pregnancy.

Moral guilt


Frequently found in the case of accidents, this occurs of the child dies and the parent is still alive.

Survival guilt


Parents feel guilty when they move through their grief and want to get on with their lives. They may feel that this dishonors the memory of their dead child, or feel that society will judge them negatively.

Recovery guilt


Role that the deceased played in the family.

Functional position


One of the family members becomes the target of the wrath and the blame and the anger for the death.



Consists of inducing the mourning response by directly asking one family member about reactions to actual losses the family has sustained.

Operational mourning


Loss of several people can be overwhelming, can shut down the grieving process all together.

Bereavement overload


A naturally occurring process that brings the person to a progressive return to consciousness of past experiences and, in particular, to the resurgence of unresolved conflicts.



Define the type of relationship the person had with the deceased.

Relational factors


Often happens in cases of suicides, AIDS, abortions, some accidents.

Socially unspeakable


When the person and those around him or her act as if the loss did not happen.

Socially negated


Consists of people who had known the deceased and can give each other support.

Social support network


The intensification of grief to the level where the person is overwhelmed resorts of maladaptive behavior, or remains interminably in the state of grief without progression of the mourning process towards completion. Involves processes that do not move progressively toward assimilation or accommodation but, instead, lead to stereotyped repetitions or extensive interruptions of healing.

Complicated bereavement


1. Chronic grief reactions
2. Delayed grief reactions
3. Exaggerated grief reactions
4. Masked grief reactions

Paradigm describing complicated mourning


One that is excessive in duration and never comes to a satisfactory conclusion.
-person is very much aware that he or she is not getting through the period of mourning

Chronic grief reaction


Sometimes called inhibited, suppressed, or postponed grief reactions. The person may have had an emotional reaction at the time of the loss, but is not sufficient to the loss. At a future date, the person may experience the symptoms of grief over some subsequent and immediate loss, and the intensity of his or her grieving will seem excessive.

Delayed grief reaction


The person experiencing the intensification of a normal grief reaction either feels overwhelmed or resorts to maladaptive behavior.
-clinical depression
-alcoholism and substance abuse

Exaggerated grief reactions


Irrational despair

Clinical depression


Experienced as panic attacks, phobic behaviors.



Experience symptoms and behaviors that cause difficulty, but do not recognize the fact that these symptoms or behaviors are related to the loss.
-physical symptoms or maladaptive behaviors

Masked grief reactions


States that the created is reunited with its creator at death. The acknowledgement of this is the overall purpose of religion in the funeral service.

Doctrine of atonement


Purpose is primarily disinfection, secondarily preservation, and it's third purpose is restoration. As a function of disinfection, this must be performed as soon after death as possible.



Offer year-round maintenance programs and perpetual care features.

Memorial park cemeteries


A method of pricing that provides a separate charge for each item of service and merchandise.



offered by some memorial parks for the benefit of no-local families.

Lot exchange programs


Involves the planning and purchase of merchandise before the death occurs.

pre-need programs


1. Ignore death
2.Efforts to lessen the harshness of death
3.A distorted preoccupation with death that, to some degree, mimics pornography in its danger of dehumanizing genuine human feelings and emotions.

Primary styles of denial


1. The process of dying is painful
2. The process of dying is undignified
3. The process of dying is a burden to others

Fear of the process of dying


-triggers feelings of vulnerability
-sense of incompleteness of failure
-it means separation from people, places, and things that are loved and treasured

Fear of the loss of life


-physical, moral, and mystical components
-The fate of the body
-Fear of judgement
-Fear of the unknown

Fear of what happens after death


-Developed by Templer, involves 15 short statements and questions to which participants respond. 60% of studies.
-General death anxiety
-Thoughts and talks about death
-Subjective proximity of death
-fear of pain and suffering
-fear of the unknown

The death anxiety scale (DAS)


Developed by Krieger, Epting, and Leitner and is conducted in interview format. 23% of studies. Offers more interpretability than the DAS and offers a high degree of reliability.

The threat index


Assesses thirty-six items connected to four dimensions of death anxiety:
1. Death of self
2. Dying of self
3. Death of others
4. Dying of others

-used in 18% of studies, not especially high reliability.

The Collett-Lester fear of death scale


Used in only 4% of studies, features 8 independent subscales, each containing 6 items on which respondents indicate the extent of their agreement. No reliability tests have been performed.

The Hoelter multidimensional fear of death scale


1. Tactfully avoid euphemisms in speaking and writing so as to remove the "taboo" aspects of death language.
2. Promote and demonstrate comfortable and intelligent interaction with dying patients, who are living until they are dead.
3. Encourage death education for children so they can grow up with a minimum of death-related anxieties.
4. Perceive health care workers and other caregivers as professionals and human beings, neither omnipotent nor omniscient, but worth of respect for their competency and connection to the dying person and his or her family.
5. Stay educated on changes and trends in the funeral industry.
6. Encourage, communicate, or participate in meaningful research in the field of death studies, grief, and bereavement.

Goals for death care professionals


-Death acceptance
-Death defiance
-Death denial

Patterns of response to death


The belief is that in death nothing need to be lost- you can take it with you.

Death defying societies


Suggests that death is unnatural, common in America.
1. Through language
2. By detachment of families from the funeral process
3. By relegating family members to nursing homes or hospitals to die, removing them from familiar and comfortable surroundings.
4. By avoiding conversation about the deceased for fear of loved ones' becoming upset.

Death denial


Accepts death and views it as a natural part of the life cycle.

Death acceptance


Those that occur without warning and require special understanding and intervention.
-suicidal deaths, sudden deaths- accidental deaths, heart attacks, homicides.

Sudden death


Occurs in infants less than 1 year of age, most frequently among infants (often boys) ages 2-6 months. The causes of this phenomenon are not fully known, and the pathogenesis of this has not been firmly established, although pediatric guidelines for parents help prevent it.

SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)


Grieving that occurs prior to the actual loss. The absence of overt manifestations of grief at the actual time of death in survivors who had already experienced the phases of normal grief and who had freed themselves from their emotional ties with the deceased.

Anticipatory grief


Physically removing oneself through travel from the old environment of which the deceased was a part.

Geographic cure