Kübler-Ross Model

Kübler-Ross Model. Psychology Fanatic article header image
Kübler-Ross Model. Psychology Fanatic
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The Kübler-Ross Model​ is also known as the five stages of grief. Swiss psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross first introduced the five stage model in her 1969 book On Death and Dying. The stages describe a multi-stage process people follow to deal with tragedy and grief.

​ The five stages of the process are:

  • Denial,
  • Anger,
  • Bargaining,
  • Depression, and
  • Acceptance.

Many practitioners refer to the Kübler-Ross Model as the DABDA model.

Kübler-Ross’ model is based off her work with over two hundred critically ill and dying patients. While these style of models present a challenge for research and empirical support, this model does provide a helpful pattern to understand the dynamically changing experiences of grieving a loss. The stages proposed by Ross are useful tools “to help us frame and identify what people may be experiencing at the time of grief” (Yoade, et al., 2020).

Later, Kübler-Ross clarified that these stages are not linear. Some people may not experience any of them or only a few of them. However, these five stages of grief provide a familiar and helpful model to explain the complex feelings of  those grieving loss.

Although this model was first proposed by Kübler-Ross to apply with people suffering from terminal illness, “this five stage theoretical model has since been applied to many forms of personal loss and important life events” (Smaldone & Uzzo, 2013).

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Kübler-Ross, Elizabeth (1969/2014). On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy and Their Own Families. Scribner; Reissue edition.

Smaldone, M., & Uzzo, R. (2013). The Kubler-Ross model, physician distress, and performance reporting. Nature Reviews Urology, 10(7), 425-428.

Yoade, B., Odenigbo, N., Jones, J., Kallikkadan, J., & Jolayemi, A. (2020). On the use of a Modified Kubler-Ross Model of Grief to Treat Bereavement in Schizophrenia. Cureus, 12(12).

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