Five stages of grief

Concept in psychology / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The five stages of grief model (or the Kübler-Ross model) is popularly known as a model that describes a series of emotions experienced by people who are grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In actuality, the Kübler-Ross model was based on people who are dying rather than grieving. Although commonly referenced in popular culture, studies have not empirically demonstrated the existence of these stages, and the model has been considered by some to be outdated[1] and unhelpful in explaining the grieving process.[2][3]

The model was introduced by Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying,[4] and was inspired by her work with terminally ill patients.[5] Motivated by the lack of instruction in medical schools on the subject of death and dying, Kübler-Ross examined death and those faced with it at the University of Chicago's medical school. Kübler-Ross's project evolved into a series of seminars which, along with patient interviews and previous research, became the foundation for her book.[6] Although Kübler-Ross is commonly credited with creating stage models, earlier bereavement theorists and clinicians such as Erich Lindemann, Collin Murray Parkes, and John Bowlby used similar models of stages of phases as early as the 1940s.[7]

In her book, Kübler-Ross states that the medical advancements of the time were the mark of change for the way people perceive and experience death. [4] Due to this, pediatricians have been seeing fewer life-threatening ailments for their patients compared to one-hundred years ago.[4]

Kübler-Ross later noted that the stages are not a linear and predictable progression and that she regretted writing them in a way that was misunderstood.[8] "Kübler-Ross originally saw these stages as reflecting how people cope with illness and dying," observed grief researcher Kenneth J. Doka, "not as reflections of how people grieve."[9]

As of 2019, On Death and Dying has been translated into forty-one languages with the 50th anniversary edition being published by Simon & Schuster.