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Do men grieve differently?

BY ELIZABETH WHITTINGTON
PUBLISHED WEDNESDAY, JULY 27, 2011


An article in the New York Times this week discusses how men may grieve differently than women: "Men in Grief Seek Others Who Mourn as They Do."

It begins by telling the story of Sam Feldman, a widower who lost his wife of 53 years to cancer. He was interested in joining a local bereavement group, but was quickly disheartened when he learned the group was comprised of all women. That led him to create the Men's Bereavement Network.

It's an interesting concept. While everyone deals with loss and grieves in his or her own way, there may be distinct differences to how men and women grieve the death of a loved one.

Sherry Schachter, director of bereavement services at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx and a grief specialist for 25 years, said in a telephone interview: "While women grieve intuitively, open to expressing their feelings, men are 'instrumental' grievers. They're not comfortable with talking about their feelings, and they prefer to do things to cope."

In a men's group she has run for the last few years, she said, "I never ask, 'How do you feel?' Rather, I ask, 'What did you do?' "

While coping strategies for women may include talking about their feelings, perhaps strategies for men should include what they can do. Feldman began a support group.

What are some other ways men cope with grief?

You can read more about coping strategies in "Coping with Grief and Relief."

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