Guilt in Bereavement: A Review and Conceptual Framework

Jie Li*, Cecilia L W Chan, Amy Y M Chow, Margaret Stroebe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Thirty-four quantitative and 9 qualitative studies are reviewed to indicate current understanding of the nature and impact of guilt in bereavement. This overview suggests that guilt is especially prevalent among some vulnerable subgroups, and it is associated with maladaptive health outcomes. Being male, longer bereavement time, and good end-of life experience seem to be associated with less guilt feelings. However, definition ambiguity, measurement difficulties, and cultural insensitivity are evident in studies. Therefore, a multidimensional conceptualization of guilt and a structural model to guide future investigation of this phenomenon in the bereavement context is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-171
Number of pages7
JournalDeath Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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