Rouw en ruzie
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The death of a loved one is one of the most stressful life events and is accompanied by emotions as varied as anger, shame, and relief. Intense emotions like these can lead to tensions and even conflict within the social environment. Following the increasing interest in grief research, this study focuses specifically on the occurrence of conflicts in families during a period of grief. Factors such as the personality trait agreeableness, strategies of handling conflict, and whether or not the loss was natural were explored. Results show that people who experience few differences in grief reactions tend to find these differences less unpleasant than people who experience many. Besides, people who had not had a conflict used more effective strategies than ineffective strategies, whilst people who had (had) a conflict employed neither effective nor ineffective strategies more often. People who had lost someone whose death was unnatural used neither effective nor ineffective strategies more often in handling conflicts, whilst people who had lost someone to a natural death used effective strategies more often. Our study offers a first careful insight into conflicts during a period of grief; an undeveloped field of research in our eyes. In all, conflicts definitely occur during a period of grief and these conflicts can be accompanied by painful and disruptive emotional and social consequences.