Those working with the terminally ill have noted that patients tend to go through certain stages in trying to deal with the monumental awareness of their own death and the pain and suffering that may precede it (e.g., Dilley et al., 1986). One of the earliest and most well-known description of the stages of death and dying is that proposed by Kübler-Ross (1970): denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Not all patients go through all the stages, nor do they necessarily go through them in the same order. And as certain crises or plateaus are reached, certain stages may be repeated. It is useful to keep in mind that these reactions are natural, and that they represent ways of dealing with the shock and overwhelming feelings that emerge.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret E. Backman
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Office of Health ServicesBarnard College, Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryNew York University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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