The second research-based model is the Dual Process Model of Stroebe and Schut. (Stroebe & Schut 1995)

The first model from Worden was presented in Module 2.

Grief is solitary – even when other people are grieving, the parent is alone and normal patterns in relationships may be disrupted. For couples, there is often an inability to communicate with one another, to express the awfulness of their feelings. One parent's response to the loss of a child may be frequently different from the other's.

To illustrate the differences Margaret Stroebe et al Margaret Stroebe et al 1995 proposed a dual model of grieving in which people engage in both loss-oriented and restoration-oriented grieving, and oscillate between the two reactions.

Women can tend to be loss-oriented and are very much concerned with their feelings. They may focus more on their loss and the emotions they are experiencing. They may need memories and to constantly recall and be reminded of the child who has died. Remember the section on creating memories earlier in this material.

In contrast, men can tend to be more restoration-oriented – they may want things to return to normal as soon as possible. Traditionally, men are not encouraged to show feelings and so they may instinctively try to suppress them and endeavour to be strong. Men may adopt practical forms of behaviour – wanting to do rather than feel. This response may be misinterpreted by their partner as not caring about their child.

These different ways of dealing with grief can put a significant strain on the parents’ relationship and it is helpful for each to understand that their partner’s response to grief is natural, and to find ways of sharing their feelings and reaching out to one another.

When people engage in either activity to the exclusion of the other it can cause added difficulties. Women may need help to develop some form of restorative response to enable them to move on from the intensity of the pain. Men may need to be helped to allow themselves to face up to and explore their painful feelings. This help may be needed later when the family is at home. It is helpful for you to be aware and observe that at the time of the death men and women can behave differently, and that is not unusual.