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Positive EmotionIntegrating the Light Sides and Dark Sides$
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June Gruber and Judith Tedlie Moskowitz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199926725

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199926725.001.0001

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Positive Emotions in the Aftermath of Loss

Positive Emotions in the Aftermath of Loss

Chapter:
(p.267) Chapter 15 Positive Emotions in the Aftermath of Loss
Source:
Positive Emotion
Author(s):

Anthony D. Ong

George A. Bonanno

C. S. Bergeman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199926725.003.0015

The loss of a spouse is generally regarded as one of the most stressful life events. Despite the distress and grief that the death of a loved one brings, however, there is considerable variability in individuals’ responses to interpersonal loss. A growing body of literature indicates that a substantial minority of bereaved individuals experience and express positive emotions far more often that might have been previously anticipated. In this chapter, we review evidence showing that positive emotions confer adaptive benefits during bereavement, counteracting distress responses, mitigating long-term grief reactions, and fueling physiological resilience. We then briefly review research on individual differences that bear on the ability to sustain positive emotions in the midst of loss. We conclude by discussing how the capacity for positive emotion during bereavement may be an important marker of resilience.

Keywords:   adjustment, coping, complexity, flexibility, grief, health, positive emotions, resilience

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