Factors that prolong grieving

About Grief

Grief is a normal reaction that can occur in anyone following a bereavement, but

the bereaved families of a catastrophic loss after a disaster may suffer from so called “prolonged grief” which could require specialized treatment.


Below is a list of factors which might contribute to developing prolonged grief. If the bereaved are experiencing more than one of these factors, and grieving for a while, they should not keep it to themselves, but they should try to seek as much support as possible from people around them or support organizations. If you are a supporter, please monitor them carefully.


  • When the deceased is considered an irreplaceable person
  • When many bereavements or losses occur simultaneously or consecutively
  • If the bereaved believe that they were directly or indirectly involved in the cause of death
  • If the bereaved cannot find the body of the deceased
  • When the bereaved witnessed a shocking situation, such as severe damage to the body of the deceased
  • If the bereaved had a conflict or love-hate relationship with the deceased
  • If the bereaved had any previous unresolved loss experiences
  • If the bereaved have suffered any current of past mental illness
  • The bereaved had a tendency to feel uneasy even before the disaster
  • When the bereaved has been isolated, having no one to share sad feelings with
  • When a child or an adolescent loses an important person
  • When the bereaved face financial difficulties due to the bereavement
  • If any lawsuit or legal action is involved


Source: Noriko Setou, Soichiro Maruyama (2010): Fukuzatsusei Hitan no Rikai to Soki Enjyo. (Understanding Complicated Grief and Early Aid), Kanwa Kea (Palliative Care) 20 (4): pp. 338-342