A trove of conceptual information on mourning from The Encyclopedia of Death and Dying. Topics on this page include conceptual development:

Concepts from three theoretically and clinically related domains are being incorporated into the thinking about mourning. Each has generated a number of important implications about mourning

distinctions from grief:

Grief refers to the process of experiencing the psychological, behavioral, social, and physical reactions to the perception of loss

[Mourning] refers to… the consequent conscious and unconscious processes and courses of action that promote three operations, each with its own particular focus, that enable the individual ultimately to accommodate the loss

requirements for healthy mourning:

According to Rando, there are six specific “R” processes that must be completed successfully by the individual in order for the three reorientations—in relation to the deceased, self, and external world—of healthy mourning to occur

duration and course:

There is no general time frame for the length of mourning, it is dependent upon the unique constellation of factors associated with the mourner’s particular bereavement

and “mourning in a changing sociocultural milieu” (my favourite bit):

Twentieth-century sociocultural and technological trends in Western society have significantly increased the prevalence of complicated mourning by causing a rise in virtually all of the seven high-risk factors predisposing to complicated mourning. The trends that have contributed most substantially to this include, among others, urbanization, technicalization, secularization, deritualization, increased social mobility, social reorganization, multiculturalism, escalating violence, wide economic disparity, medical advances, and contemporary political realities

More specific cultural differences about mourning and death traditions are described on Wikipedia, BeliefNet (ten “transition rituals” in spiritual customs from Baha’i to Pagan Presbyterianism) and, oddly, the Entertaining pages of About.com (funerals and mourning rituals for the five major world religions) and About’s Chinese Culture pages.

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