Klass D. Continuing conversation about continuing bonds. Death Stud. 2006; 30:(9)843-858

Root BL, Exline JJ. The role of continuing bonds in coping with grief: overview and future directions. Death Stud. 2014; 38:(1-5)1-8

Attachment bonds and adjustment to grief

02 January 2021
Volume 26 · Issue 1

Attachment bonds describe the emotional connection or relationship one has with another person, deceased or alive. At this early stage, it is important to state that different terms (continuing bonds, affectionate bonds, attachment bonds/theory) are used in the literature interchangeably, but this commentary will use attachment bonds. It appears that the existing empirical literature presents complex and diverse perspectives about the role of attachment bonds in grief resolution. There are varying permutations about the role of attachment bonds in grief resolution (Root and Exline, 2014), with claims that continuing with these bonds after death helps the bereaved to achieve a less painful, or more bearable, bereavement (Klass, 2006). On the other hand, there are claims that experiencing grief helps to sever attachment bonds with the deceased and, therefore, allows the bereaved to move on with their life and eventually form new attachments bonds. Although the outcome ends up being the same, that is, bearable bereavement (healthy adjustment), the processes are quite different, leading to questions about whether both processes can be credible.

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