H. A. W., Stroebe, M. S., Boelen, P. A., & Zijerveld, A. (2006). Continuing relationships with the deceased: Disentangling bonds and grief. Death Studies, 30, 757-766.
Some studies of the relationship between continuing bonds and grief intensity have claimed that continuing bonds lead to poor adaptation to bereavement. However, operationalizations of continuing bonds and grief intensity appear to overlap conceptually. Thus, it is still unclear what character the connection between continuing bonds and grief bears and how strong the relationship is. Three studies are reported, 2 of which examine the perception of conceptual overlap between continuing bonds and grief intensity, and 1 that examines whether reducing this perceived conceptual overlap affects the association between continuing bonds and grief intensity. In the first 2 studies, extent of perception of conceptual overlap was established, and subscales for the bonds and grief measures were derived that could be considered less overlapping. In the third study, relationships between bonds, grief, and well-being were calculated for the original scales and those reduced on the basis of deleted perceived overlap. When conceptual overlap was reduced, the relationship between grief and continuing bonds was slightly lower but not significantly so, as happened to the relationship between bonds and well-being. By contrast, the link between grief intensity and well-being did not diminish after deleting the overlapping items. These patterns suggest that future research should continue to explore whether the association between continuing bonds and grief intensity is due to conceptual overlap.