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Grief and Loss: Psychological Issue Essay

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Updated: Oct 22nd, 2020


The death of a loved one creates a hiatus in a person’s life. People’s religious and philosophical ideas guide them throughout the grieving process. Individuals should have adequate time to grieve and heal in order to find meaning in life. This discussion explores the concept of grieving and how it differs from one population to another.

Defining Grieving

Holdsworth (2015) indicates the grieving is a process that can take longer depending on the nature of the loss. It makes it easier for every affected individual to let his or her beloved person to go. Mourning also promotes healing. Grieving usually involves the physical death of a loved one. However, events such as divorce or loss of a job can trigger the process.

Grieving Processes: African Americans and Latinos

Humans belong to different cultural, religious, and social backgrounds. This fact explains why different populations portray diverse grieving processes. African Americans are known to follow most of the five stages (Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) of grief (Danzer, Rieger, Schubmehl, & Cort, 2016). They manifest great emotion during grieving. Although they believe in life after death, members of this population mourn in order to heal. Latinos are encouraged to cry after the death of a loved person. Divorce can force people to express emotions such as anger and pain (Hordan & Litz, 2014). They use promises to honor their departed ones. Gifts are also presented during burial ceremonies.


Several differences can be observed in the manner in which members of these two cultures grief. To begin with, African Americans will establish strong ties with their friends throughout the mourning period. Individuals will have adequate time in order to heal completely. Latinos, on the other hand, will mainly focus on the best relationships with their family members. Prayers and fasting are embraced by African Americans (Danzer et al., 2016). Latinos might seek traditional revelations during the mourning process. Gifts are shared by Latinos whenever one of them is grieving. Such differences should be clearly understood in order to help those who are grieving.

Theories of Grief

Several theories can be applied to understand how these two cultures grief. To begin with, Silverman and Klass’s theory of continuing bonds asserts that grieving results in a new order whereby people accept reality without forgetting their beloved ones (Holdsworth, 2015). This aspect characterizes the grieving process exhibited by the two cultures.

John Bowlb’s attachment theory asserts that the established relation between individuals is disoriented after the death of a given person. This model can be used to understand how these two cultural groups mourn (Holdsworth, 2015). Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ model can also be used to explain how members of these cultures mourn. These theories show clearly that grieving is a unique process that must be experienced by both African Americans and Latinos.

Concept of Grieving: Loss and Stages

Although grieving is treated as a process, persons respond differently to suffering. Various series of occurrences is evident whenever a person is mourning. Affected individuals exhibit various reactions such as anger, despair, sadness, and guilt (Holdsworth, 2015). Eating and sleeping problems can also emerge. This knowledge can guide psychologists to provide desirable support to grieving persons.

Human beings respond negatively to stressful events such as divorce and death (Burke & Neimeyer, 2014). Feelings of anxiety are healthy since they empower individuals to overcome their emotions. Several stages of grief and loss have been presented by scholars such as Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.

The first stage is of the theory is denial whereby the victim might think that the situation is not true. A sense of hope emerges during this phase. The second one is anger. The individual blames others for the occurrence. Bargaining is the next stage whereby persons accept the happening (Hamilton, 2013). During the phase, the affected individual tries to look for answers in order to tackle the situation. Depression is the fourth phase and occurs after a person acknowledges the reality of the event. The victim is unable to focus on his or her goals. Acceptance is the last stage of the grieving process. The person accepts the reality and finds new coping strategies (Eyetsemitan, 2017).

Similarities and Differences: Theoretical Applications

As indicated earlier, populations will exhibit unique differences when it comes to grieving and mourning. African Americans establish meaningful family ties in comparison with Latinos. This fact explains why the level of attachment dictates the grieving process. This idea is supported by John Bowlb’s attachment theory. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ five stages can explain how African Americans and Latinos have different grieving processes. Each of the two communities has established unique meanings of loss and death (Burke & Neimeyer, 2014).

Despite such differences, studies reveal that these two cultures portray numerous similarities in their grieving processes. Most of the above theories of loss acknowledge that grieving guides Latinos and African Americans to adjust to the existing reality. In the above two cultures, grieving follows several steps to ensure the affected people overcome the situation (Danzer et al., 2016).


Theories of loss acknowledge that mourning is necessary since it helps people adapt to their situations and re-pattern their lives. Psychologists and family members should understand the stages followed by every grieving person. This knowledge will ensure more people are empowered to deal with troubling situations and eventually achieve their potential.


Burke, L. A., & Neimeyer, R. A. (2014). Spiritual distress in bereavement: Evolution of a research program. Religions, 5, 1087-1115. Web.

Danzer, G., Rieger, S. M., Schubmehl, S., & Cort, D. (2016). White psychologists and African Americans’ historical trauma: Implications for practice. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 25(4), 1-14. Web.

Eyetsemitan, F. (2017). Employee grief, workplace culture, and implications for worker productivity and psychopathology. Acta Psychopathologica, 3(4), 1-3. Web.

Hamilton, I. J. (2013). Out of hours: Understanding grief and bereavement. British Journal of General Practice, 1(1), 523. Web.

Holdsworth, M. (2015). Bereaved carers’ accounts of the end of life and the role of care providers in a ‘good death’: A qualitative study. Palliative Medicine, 29(9), 834-841.

Hordan, A. H., & Litz, B. T. (2014). Prolonged grief disorder: Diagnostic, assessment, and treatment considerations. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 45(3), 180-187. Web.

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