Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counseling and Personnel

First Advisor

Dr. Kenneth Bullmer


Researchers in the field of grief (Parkes 1972, Bowlby 1980) theorized that personality is probably the major factor in determining how well one recovers from grief. Since Lindemann's (1944) study of surviving loved ones who died in a night club fire in Boston, most researchers have worked under the assumption that a survivor must go through the grief process in order to recover adequately, and that those who do not grieve will have poor recovery. Since the compulsive personality style has difficulty expressing emotions, it was hypothesized by this researcher that compulsives would recover more poorly than others in the general population. It was found by this researcher that there was lack of significant research that attempted to measure personality as a factor in grief recovery.

Letters requesting participation were sent to 908 surviving spouses of persons 65 years of age or younger who had died during the previous two to four years and whose death had been reported in the Battle Creek (MI) Enquirer or the Kalamazoo Gazette between January 1980 and June 1982. Only funerals handled by Caucasian funeral directors were included. Of these 908 requests for participation, 175 were returned as undeliverable. Either by return card or telephone 279 persons agreed to participate. As a result of this mailing a sample of 38 males and 155 females was achieved. The Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory was used to classify persons by personality style. The Bereavement Questionnaire (BQ) (Martin 1981) augmented by items from the Texas Instrument of Grief (Faschingbauer, DeVaul, Zisook 1977) forming the Bereavement Recovery Questionnaire (BRQ), was used to measure grief recovery.

A two tailed t test was used to compare the mean scores on both the BQ and BRQ of the 30 highest compulsives with a sample of 30 others drawn after removing all others scoring highest on the compulsive scale. The mean obtained for the compulsive group was actually higher (indicating better adjustment) on both sides, though not significantly so. Thus, the null hypothesis that there is no significant difference between compulsives and others was retained.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access