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Personality and Bereavement

             Loss of a significant other, especially a spouse, is considered one of lifes most stressful events. While it may be difficult, bereavement is an event that all people experience at some point in their lives. The time frame in which the loss occurs and how the individual reacts to it has been the subject of many research studies. Researchers have investigated if people grieve differently because of biological reasons or do their personality traits dictate how the loss is mourned. I will explore the biological impact of grief and the personality aspects in grieving. .
             Grief is the act following the loss of a loved one. While grief and bereavement are normal occurrences, the grief process is a social construct of how someone should behave. The acceptable ways that people grieve change because of this construct. For a time it was not acceptable to grieve; today, however, it is seen as a necessary way to move on from death (Scheid, 2011).The grief process has been described as a multistage event, with each stage lasting for a suggested amount of time to be considered normal and reach resolution. The beginning stage of grief is the immediate shock, disbelief, and denial lasting from hours to weeks (Wambach, 1985). The middle stage is the acute mourning phase that can include somatic and emotional turmoil. This stage includes acknowledging the event and processing it on various levels, both mentally and physically. The final stage is a period of restitution and can last for several months to years (Wambach, 1985). It seems as if the active mourning over the death is not indefinite and ends around six months (Scheid, 2011). .
             In order to better understand why people respond a certain way, psychologists study temperament in children and personality traits in adults. Temperament is viewed as lower level traits that can be the building blocks to personality traits. Personality traits are generally placed in a Big Five hierarchy, although there are smaller traits within them.

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