Funeral Behavior and Unresolved Grief is the preliminary report of a psychiatric research project titled “Mortality and Grief Studies in Alachua County,” which was funded in part by the National Institute of Mental Health. Its purpose was to study people with “unresolved grief” by comparing their “sociotemporal characteristics and funeral behaviors” with people whose grief was considered resolved.1
Subjects: 24 adults who had lost next-of-kin approximately a year earlier. 16 were under the age of 65, and 8 were over 65. Half were judged to have resolved their grief; the other half were still suffering from unresolved grief. Alachua County, Florida.
The idea that mourners who grieve for a longer time and/or more intensely than others are in any sense abnormal has been questioned by many people since the 1970s when this study was conducted. But whether classified as unresolved, complicated, traumatic, or by any other name, some grief experiences are more extreme than others. Without saying it is pathological, we can say some grief remains unresolved longer.
To better understand if there are certain external factors that might cause people to have longer-lasting grief, or certain behavior associated with long-lasting grief, researchers compared experiences of the two groups of subjects.