ABSTRACT

Continuing bonds (CB) with the deceased are considered to be natural and may be adaptive in the grieving process (Klass, Silverman, & Nickman, 1996). Recent empirical studies on the role of CB in the adjustment to loss have, however, yielded contradictory findings (e.g., Stroebe, Abakoumkin, Stroebe, & Schut, 2012). Evidence seems to suggest that the relationship between CB and bereavement outcomes is rooted in the forms of CB experienced by bereaved individuals (e.g., Ho, Chan, Ma, & Field, 2013). Some studies further reported that CB can play a mediating role in the relationship between risk factors and standardized grief outcome measures (e.g., Yu, He, Xu, Wang, & Prigerson, 2016a). In addition, Field et al. (2013) included subjectively reported levels of comfort and distress with regard to different forms of CB and observed that some forms of CB were described as both comforting and distressing. Thus, CB appear to be a double-edged sword in bereavement.