Dual process model of coping

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Margaret Stroebe and Henk Schut studied grief in "The Dual Process Model of Coping with Bereavement: A Decade On". In this study, the models of coping were examined and how it could be of benefit compared to others. They came up with a dual process model to represent human grief. They explain coping with bereavement, a state of loss can be a combination of accepting and confronting it. It informs on how the combination of healthy emotional catharsis and changing perspective can be a good and healthy process to cope.[1] Being able to confront the situation and also deal with everyday life events allows the person to live their lives with desired states of stability in a subjective post-loss world in which bereaved persons find themselves (Parkes, 1993)[full citation needed].


Bereavement and the adjective bereaved derive from a verb, 'reave', which means "to despoil, rob, or forcibly deprive" according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Thus, a bereaved person is one who has been deprived, robbed, plundered, or stripped of someone or something that they valued. Reaction to this state or impact of loss is called grief. According to Lazarus and Folkman (1984),[full citation needed] coping strategies are the "constantly changing cognitive and behavioural efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing on or exceeding the resources of the person". People vary in the ways that they grieve and also in the way that they cope. But, acknowledging it and allowing themselves to go through the motions will allow them to cope in a healthy way. To cope with the loss, the person requires to relearn the world around them and simultaneously make a multifaceted transition from loving in presence to loving in absence (Attig, 2001).[full citation needed] A healthy relocation of the deceased internally and maintaining a healthy dynamic connectedness/relationship is observed to provide solace to the grieving, but the weightage differed in pluralistic cultural settings. Grievers will go through times of extreme sadness and also times where they are numb to what has happened.[2] Lack of appropriate coping can bring many ailments to a person including mental and physical ailments.[3] Coping through mourning in a state of bereavement is advised in the Bible as "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."[4] Because it helps to achieve growth through thorough acceptance of loss, the transforming capacity of profound human experiences. Freud in 1959 through an article called this as a process of "working through" the grief. Healthy coping is achieved when the bereaved person is enabled to go forward with healthy, productive living by effortfully developing "new normals" to guide that living which is characterized by lesser stressful demands compared to initial phase of grief.

Greenblatt has reviewed spousal mourning is essential for transition. He describes 4 phases of mourning: the initial reaction of shock, numbness, denial and disbelief; followed by pining, yearning, depression then in a healthy environment resolution phase begins with emancipation from the loved one and readjustment to the new environment.[5]

Dual process model[edit]

Loss oriented[edit]

The loss oriented process focuses on coping with bereavement, the loss itself, recognizing it and accepting it. In this process a person will express feelings of grief with all the losses that occur from losing their loved one. There will be many changes from work to family and friendships. There might also be demographic changes and even economic ones. During this time, people either acknowledge these changes head or ruminate on feelings of lose which might lead to distorted, complicated or prolonged grief. The loss oriented process will bring on a lot of yearning, irritability, despair, anxiety and depression. During this process they are only concentrated on their pain that this loss has caused. Lack or denial of early adaptive acknowledgement that they will no longer speak to deceased or see them again might instigate compulsive and self-destructive behaviors. People attached with the deceased have to reconfigure their identity as an autonomous being. These process in a non-resilient griever can appear overwhelming, and associated guilt can be exported over friends and family in an assumptive effort which might affect interpersonal relationships.[6]

Restoration oriented[edit]

In restoration-oriented process, the loss of the loved one is accepted and attachments with the deceased are relinquished. These include focusing on the new roles in their post loss reality and responsibilities in lives. The restoration-oriented process incorporates endurance through reconstruction of perspective by taking over grief, grieving thoughts are adjusted adaptively by creating new meanings with the deceased. The restoration process is a confrontation process, that allows the person to adjust with the world without the deceased. People in this process can feel subjective oscillations of pride and grief related stressors in the avoidance mentalization. This process allows the person to live their daily life as a changed individual without being consumed by the grieving they are facing.[7][8] William Worden calls this as the four tasks of grief.[9] Therese A. Rando calls the letting go process as emancipation from bondage due to the strength required for change and recovery.


The dual process model of coping takes into consideration that everyone will have stressful life events, while they are coping with bereavement. Their lives will continue and so will the problems associated with it. There will be many situations that will take them away from grieving. These situations can either benefit them or affect them negatively if they allow them to. Being aware and prepared to change can allow them to continue and deal with post loss life events.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stroebe, Margaret; Schut, Henk (1999). "The Dual Process Model of Coping with Bereavement: Rationale and Description". Death Studies. 23 (3): 197–224. doi:10.1080/074811899201046 – via Taylor & Francis Online.
  2. ^ Spall, Bob; Callis, Stephen (January 1997). Loss, Bereavement and Grief: A Guide to Effective Caring. Nelson Thornes. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-7487-3322-4.
  3. ^ Richardson, Virginia E. (2010-12-01). "The Dual Process Model of Coping with Bereavement: A Decade Later". OMEGA - Journal of Death and Dying. 61 (4): 269–271. doi:10.2190/OM.61.4.a – via SAGE Journals.
  4. ^ Matthew 5:4, NRSV
  5. ^ Greenblatt, M. (1978-01-01). "The grieving spouse". American Journal of Psychiatry. 135 (1): 43–47. doi:10.1176/ajp.135.1.43. ISSN 0002-953X.
  6. ^ Fasse, Léonor; Zech, Emmanuelle (2015). "The Dual Process Model of Coping with Bereavement in the test of the subjective experiences of bereaved spouses. An interpretative phenomenological analysis". OMEGA-Journal of Death and Dying. 74 (2): 212–238. doi:10.1177/0030222815598668 – via ResearchGate.
  7. ^ Bennett, Kate M.; Gibbons, Kerry; MacKenzie-Smith, Suzanna (2010-12-01). "Loss and Restoration in Later Life: An Examination of Dual Process Model of Coping with Bereavement". OMEGA - Journal of Death and Dying. 61 (4): 315–332. doi:10.2190/OM.61.4.d – via SAGE Journals.
  8. ^ Jeffreys, J. Shep (2004-12-30). Helping Grieving People: A Handbook for Care Providers. Routledge. p. 46. ISBN 978-1-135-94138-3.
  9. ^ Worden, J. William (2009). Grief counseling and grief therapy : a handbook for the mental health practitioner (4th ed.). New York, NY: Springer Pub. Co. ISBN 0826101208. OCLC 307513848.
  10. ^ Stroebe, Margaret; Schut, Henk (2010-12-01). "The Dual Process Model of Coping with Bereavement: A Decade on". OMEGA - Journal of Death and Dying. 61 (4): 273–289. doi:10.2190/OM.61.4.b – via SAGE Journals.

Further reading[edit]