A recent study shows that many people with firm spiritual beliefs find it easier to deal with a bereavement. Researchers in Texas have studied 120 relatives and friends of patients attending a hospice for terminal care. They looked at how the presence, or absence, of strong spiritual beliefs helped these people cope when their loved one died.
Those who had a strong spiritual belief reported steady progress in coming to terms with their loss over a period of 12 months. But those who had no beliefs had problems in coping. Those who had low levels of belief had problems for the first nine months following bereavement, but came to terms with their loss thereafter. This study suggests a new area that those working with the bereaved might be able to venture.