Boelen, P. A. (2010). A Sense of "Unrealness" about the Death of a Loved-One: An Exploratory Study of its Role in Emotional Complications among Bereaved Individuals. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 24, 238-241.


After a loss, some people develop complicated grief (CG) and depression. A recent cognitivebehavioural model postulates that three processes account for such problems: (a) lack of integration of the loss with implicit autobiographical knowledge about the relationship with the lost person, (b) negative cognitions and (c) avoidance behaviours. In the current study, it was proposed that the 'lack of integration of the loss' is mainly an implicit process, but has an explicit, introspectively accessible counterpart in the form of 'a sense of unrealness' that can be defined as a subjective sense of uncertainty or ambivalence about the irreversibility of the separation. The role of this 'sense of unrealness' was studied using self-reported data from 397 mourners. Among other things, findings showed that items constituting unrealness were distinct from those of CG and depression. In addition, unrealness was significantly associated with CG, when controlling for negative cognitions, avoidance and concomitant depression.