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A Time to Mourn

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image of Archive for the Psychology of Religion

This article gives brief results of a Norwegian empirical project where the main purpose has been to study the burial rite versus bereavement and the role of religiousness in relation to the disposing of the dead. The theoretical perspective is that loss of a significant close, as well as religiousness are primary life experiences which flow together in the bereaved person's grieving conduct during the burial rite. 70 bereaved persons who had lost a close relative during a certain time period have filled in questionnaires with information about the death, the funeral, religiousness and bereavement. The sample is treated statistically by means of indexes for grieving conduct during the burial week, religiousness, and grief. The sample is coherent and unambiguous, and shows that those who let the burial rite be a time to mourn experienced more benefit from the funeral service and had less anxiety, depression and intrusive experiences during the first year of bereavement. But sadness was independent of the grieving conduct during the burial rite, a result which makes sadness an aspect of mourning which qualitatively differs from the other aspects described. External conditions as urbanity and institutionalizing, as well as internal matters as the dramatical character of the loss, and personal religiousness affected the bereaved person's grieving conduct during the burial rite.


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