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Br J Psychiatry. 1975 Sep;127:204-10.

Psycho-social transitions: comparison between reactions to loss of a limb and loss of a spouse.


In 21 widows and 46 amputees a psychological reaction to loss designated as "grief' was commonly reported. This included an initial period of numbness, soon followed by restless pining with preoccupation with thoughts of the loss, a clear visual memory of the lost object and a sense of its presence. Defensive processes, reflected in difficulty in believing in the loss and avoidance of reminders, were also evident. Widows differed from amputees in showing more evidence of overt distress in the early post-loss phase, but whereas these features diminished in prevalence in the course of the next year the equivalent features reported by the amputee group remained virtually unchanged.

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