Cremation and grief: Are ways of commemorating the dead related to adjustment over time?

John Birrell, Henk Schut, Margaret Stroebe, Daniel Anadria, Cate Newsom, Kate Woodthorpe, Hannah Rumble, Anne Corden, Yvette Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Funeral services are known to serve multiple functions for bereaved persons. There is also a common, intuitively reasonable assumption of positive associations between engaging in funeral activities and adjustment to bereavement. We examined whether restricting ceremonial cremation arrangements to a minimum has a negative association with grief over time. Bereaved persons in the United Kingdom completed questionnaires 2 to 5 months postloss and again a year later (N = 233 with complete data; dropout = 11.4%). Neither type nor elaborateness of the cremation service, nor satisfaction with arrangements (typically high), emerged as significantly related to grief; no major subgroup differences (e.g., according to income level) were found. Results suggested that it does not matter to grief whether a more minimalistic or elaborate funeral ceremony was observed. We concluded that the funeral industry represented in this investigation is offering bereaved people the range of choices regarding cremation arrangements to meet their needs. Limits to generalizability are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370 - 392
Number of pages22
JournalOmega: The Journal of Death and Dying
Volume8
Issue number3
Early online date3 May 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • bereavement
  • cremation
  • funeral
  • grief
  • mourning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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