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Cancer Health Center

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Grief, Bereavement, and Coping With Loss (PDQ®): Supportive care - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Cross-Cultural Responses to Grief and Mourning


Death, grief, and mourning are universal and natural aspects of the life process. All cultures have evolved practices that best meet their needs for dealing with death. Hindering these practices can disrupt the necessary grieving process. Understanding these practices can help clinicians to identify and develop ways to treat patients of other cultures who are demonstrating atypical grief.[7] Given current ethnodemographic trends, health care professionals need to address these cultural differences in order to best serve these populations.[2]


  1. Cowles KV: Cultural perspectives of grief: an expanded concept analysis. J Adv Nurs 23 (2): 287-94, 1996.
  2. Irish DP, Lundquist KF, Nelson VJ, eds.: Ethnic Variations in Dying, Death, and Grief: Diversity in Universality. Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis, 1993.
  3. Rando TA: Treatment of Complicated Mourning. Champaign: Research Press, 1993.
  4. Cowles KV, Rodgers BL: The concept of grief: a foundation for nursing research and practice. Res Nurs Health 14 (2): 119-27, 1991.
  5. McGoldrick M, Hines P, Lee E, et al.: Mourning rituals. Family Therapy Networker 10 (6): 28-36, 1986.
  6. McGoldrick M, Almedia R, Hines PM, et al.: Mourning in different cultures. In: Walsh F, McGoldrick M, eds.: Living Beyond Loss: Death in the Family. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1991, pp 176-206.
  7. Eisenbruch M: Cross-cultural aspects of bereavement. II: Ethnic and cultural variations in the development of bereavement practices. Cult Med Psychiatry 8 (4): 315-47, 1984.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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