Linguistic and Personological Features of the Doka and Martin Grieving Style Continuum

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



While there is extensive research on the adaptive grief styles developed by Doka and Martin, this study is the first of its kind to explore the language used among each style of grief. This study used clinical vignettes from a variety of sources on instrumental and intuitive grieving in an attempt to decipher the language use across various linguistic and psychological processes. Following this analysis, latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA) was used fitting a two-topic model to analyze differences between topics while additionally performing a supervised LDA analysis. The strongest data from this study relate to intuitive grief, which found a higher use of present-tense language in comparison to the instrumental grief style. In addition, results found that the language used by intuitive grievers is slightly more distinguishable than that of its instrumental counterpart. Several implications for counseling and research were developed in response to these findings.


First published online July 6, 2021.

When the article was written, James Geisler was affiliated with Oregon State University.