The Effects of Bereavement Time on the Relationship Between Coping Strategies and Psychological Distress

Tomohiro Uchida, Noriaki Satake, Chiin Takayama, Akari Uno, Toshimichi Nakaho, Akira Inoue, Hidemitsu Saito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between bereaved individuals’ coping patterns, mental health, and time post-loss. A questionnaire using the Coping with Bereavement Scale (CBS) and the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6) was completed by 173 family members of individuals who died from cancer between August 2013 and March 2016. Confirmatory factor analysis revealed a three-factor solution for the CBS comprised of “life orientation,” “avoidance,” and “retaining ties” with the deceased. Scores on retaining ties were significantly but weakly correlated with K6 scores; however, the intensity of this relationship increased with more time post-bereavement, and individuals who retained strong ties with the deceased for two years or more demonstrated poorer mental health. Although retaining ties with the deceased might be an adaptive psychological process following bereavement, in this study, long-term persistence with that coping strategy was associated with greater overall psychological distress. Further research is needed to identify optimal coping methods to address evolving needs during the bereavement process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-251
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Social Work in End-of-Life and Palliative Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Coping
  • family caregivers
  • period after bereavement
  • psychological distress
  • retaining ties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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