Pathological grief in doctors' wives.


The mental health of doctors has received increasing attention in recent years, but articles on the doctor's wife and family remain scarce.' Those reports that do exist emphasise the wife's reluctance to express her dependence on her husband because he is already burdened with trying to meet the needs of his patients2 and her search for a personal identity that is not based solely on being a doctor's wife.3 Other studies have examined the treatment that doctors' families receive from other medical practitioners,4 and the anxieties that such treatment may impose on the treating doctor.5 These three interrelated issues-the emotional and physical health of the doctor's wife, their marital relationship, and the difficulties doctors encounter in treating a sick colleague-are important in understanding the problem of pathological grief in the doctor's widow. The following account is impressionistic and is based on my experience of treating six doctors' widows who were referred to me. These cases were probably not representative of the grief process in medical families but nevertheless indicate the possibility that a debilitating yet potentially reversible psychosocial problem exists within the medical profession itself.

Cite this paper

@article{Harari1981PathologicalGI, title={Pathological grief in doctors' wives.}, author={Ehud Harari}, journal={British medical journal}, year={1981}, volume={282 6257}, pages={33-4} }