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June 27, 2007

The Stage Theory of Grief—Reply

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2007;297(24):2692-2694. doi:10.1001/jama.297.24.2693-b

In Reply: The stage theory of grief has captured the imaginations of clinicians and the public. Despite its recognized limitations (eg, that it will not predict exactly how every bereaved person will grieve), it remains taught in medical schools, posted on authoritative Web sites (eg, National Cancer Institute),1 and continues to guide thinking about bereavement for many clinicians, educators, and researchers. Although several reviews have concluded that this theory has no support, our study represents the first empirical test of the stage theory. We are aware of no previous study that used the necessary grief measures or the analytic strategy to explicitly test the stage theory of grief.

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