Friday, March 6, 2015

Afterlife Beliefs: Mourning Older Adult Spousal Death (Research, Video 4:25)

Do you believe in life after death? Do you think death is the end, and there is no afterlife? Many people have varied ideas about this topic, and their beliefs can impact their psychological adjustment to a loved ones’ death.

Afterlife research indicates that symptoms such as anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts, and yearnings of recently bereaved older spouses are affected by whether they believe in an afterlife or not. After a loss, uncertain or bleak views about the afterlife were associated with various aspects of distress, including symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress (PTSD). With no expectation of ever being reunited with a loved one, many have had greater difficulty adjusting, even months after the loss.

Apparently, beliefs in an afterlife help older adults cope with spousal loss better than they would if afterlife beliefs are uncertain or pessimistic. These findings are consistent with other recent work regarding “continuing bonds” with the deceased.

Doctor Jeffrey Long, a radiation oncologist, says he has scientific evidence of an afterlife and explains his findings on the “Today Show” in this video. Mary Jo Rapini, who says she has had a personal near-death experience, joins him:

Frances Shani Parker, Author
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