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Loss: Sadness and Depression

Volume 3 in the "Attachment and Loss" Series

John Bowlby

Volume 3; Reprint Edition
Published by Basic Books
Publication date: July 1, 1986
ISBN: 0465042384


This book completes John Bowlby's pioneering trilogy on attachment and loss. This volume concentrates on the major emotional consequences of loss, including feelings of sadness, depression, grief, and bereavement. It is one of the most thorough treatments of loss to appear in the literature. All three books in this series should be compulsory reading for anyone with a serious interest in the topic.

Bowlby's work as a whole was a major contribution to academic thinking about the development of attachment and affectional bonds, and the consequences of their disruption. Bowlby demonstrated that attachment of the infant to the mother is of overwhelming importance in determining the individual's later security and success in forming relations with others, and that separation from or loss of the mother can have a devastating effect

While this book is a scholarly work often encountered in college-level psychology courses, it has much value for anyone interested in the effects of loss on family members. It has practical and helpful suggestions for parents and professional workers who must deal with survivors.

Bowlby, a psychiatrist, was a leading researcher and teacher in the field of personality development. He was a former President of the International Association for Child Psychiatry and this series, particularly the first two volumes, are cornerstones of attachment theory in child development.

Volume One, Attachment, sets the stage by showing how bonds of attachment form. Volume Two, Separation: Anxiety And Anger, builds on the theme by showing the fundamental reactions to temporary disruptions of bonds. Volume Three, Loss: Sadness And Depression, culminates the series by showing how feelings of grief and bereavement are related to underlying patterns of attachment.

While the third volume can be read by itself, the real power of Bowlby's work becomes apparent when you read the series as a whole.

John Bowlby's "four stages of grief" model is of particular historical interest, contrasting with the better-known "five stages" model popularized by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her seminal book On Death And Dying. Bowlby's four stages are:

This 4-stage model is a revision of Bowlby's earlier model which had three stages, omitting the initial numbing stage. The original 3-phase model was published in "Processes Of Mourning" Int. J. Psycho-Anal. 42:317-40.
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