Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Death Stud. 2001 Jul-Aug;25(5):445-60.

Death of a spouse: illusory basic assumptions and continuation of bonds.

Author information

  • 1New School University, Psychology Department, New York, USA.


Recently psychologists have questioned the traditional model of grief, arguing that the continuation of bonds with the deceased spouse is generally adaptive. Continuing bonds can be seen as attempts to cope with the loss of a spouse but also with the shattering of the normal illusory basic assumptions about the self, the world, and the future. At this time, however, scholarship has provided few concepts to understand how continuing bonds and illusions express adaptive or maladaptive forms of grief. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to identify, in the context of the illusory basic assumptions, the circumstances by which the bond with the deceased is adaptive or maladaptive. So Epstein (1980) distinguished between higher order postulates and lower order postulates. Higher order postulates are an abstract form of schemas, or generalized theories about the self, the world, and the future, that are resistant to changes. On the other hand, lower order postulates are a concrete form of schemas normally flexible and responsive to the changes in the reality of the new situation. On the basis of this distinction, the author argues that higher order bonds or symbolic bonds are adaptive, whereas lower order bonds or concrete bonds are maladaptive.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk