How Men Grieve
September 12, 2002
by Colin Allen, Psychology Today
Male grief is often conveyed differently than in females. Neil Chethik, the author of Fatherloss, discusses a study on how males deal with father loss. grief, loss, death, bereavement, coping
The conventional wisdom on grief: Face what bothers you, talk about it, cry about it. Otherwise, you could fall into denial, something worse than grief itself.
Men don't always do that.
"I think that there is a great misunderstanding about how men deal with loss," says Neil Chethik, author of the book, Fatherloss. "I found that men grieve but they did it in a way that does not look like grieving. When we don't have access to tears, we can find others ways to express that energy."
The book details a national survey done by the University of Kentucky that asked how males dealt with the loss of their fathers. Many studies on grief have used a disproportionate number of women, neglecting males and the ways they deal with loss. Men do grieve, but they generally do so in a different manner.
"While women seem to grieve more through talking and crying, men grieve through thinking and acting," says Chethik. The survey finds that most men choose to grieve their fathers' death through action, such as continuing their fathers' hobbies. This bereavement process is slower and more gradual, but it does effectively resolve grief.
Neither form of grief is better than the other, reminds Chethik. Other studies have found that men and women cope with loss with equal degrees of success.