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Omega (Westport). 2006-2007;54(3):179-98.

Parental grief in three societies: networks and religion as social supports in mourning.

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Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Richmond, VA 23173, USA.


How do people respond to the grief of parents over the death of their infant child? This article documents the experience of one of the authors, an American married to a Russian whose child died in England. Responses to this death by friends, colleagues and family in the USA, England, and two cities in Russia varied considerably in terms of depth and degree of engagement (emotional engagement, respect, or distance and avoidance). What factors underlie these varied responses? Two are identified, one structural, the other cultural: the strength of the social ties within social networks, and religiosity as historically sedimented within a culture. The degree of engagement is correlated with network form; but the content of engagement depends on religiosity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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