Skip to main content
Intended for healthcare professionals
Restricted access
Research article
First published October 2000

Role of Deceased Mentors in the Ongoing Lives of Protégés


Participants addressed questions relating to the role(s) that deceased mentors continue to play in their lives, if any. Three active roles, designated as role model, situation specific guidance, and values clarification emerged, along with one inactive role designated remembrance formation. Roles were evenly distributed among participants. Membership in role category appeared unrelated to participants' age, gender, relationship to mentor, length and timing of mentoring, degree of grief resolution, emotional stability, and a number of other potentially relevant variables. Findings are discussed in relation to Western theories of grief, the emerging literature on continuing bonds with the deceased, and implications for conceptual changes in the language and goals of grief therapy and grief counseling.

Get full access to this article

View all access and purchase options for this article.


Attig T. (1996). How we grieve: Relearning the world. New York: Oxford University Press.
Baugh S. G., Lankau M. J., & Scandura T. A. (1996). An investigation of the effects of protégé gender on responses to mentoring. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 49, 309–323.
Bly R. (1986, April/May). Men's initiation rites. Unte Reader, 42–49.
Bowlby J. (1971). Attachment and loss: Vol. 1. Hammondsworth, England: Pelican Books.
Burke R. J., & McKeen C. A. (1997). Benefits of mentoring relationships among manargerial and professional women: A cautionary tale. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 51, 43–57.
Chao G. T. (1997). Mentoring phases and outcomes. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 51, 15–28.
Datson S. L., & Marwit S. J. (1997). Personality constructs and perceived presence of deceased loved ones. Death Studies, 21, 131–146.
Enshur E. A., & Murphy S. E. (1997). Effects of race, gender, perceived similarity, and contact on mentor relationships. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 50, 460–481.
Erikson E. (1963). Childhood and society (2nd ed.), New York: Norton.
Eysenck H. J. (1975). Manual of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, London: Hodder & Stoughton.
Fairbairn W. D. (1952). An object relations theory of the personality. New York: Basic Books.
Freud S. (1917/1957). Mourning and melancholia. In Struckey J. (Ed. and Trans.), The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 14, pp. 239–260). London: Hogarth Press. (Original work published 1917).
Haensly P. A., & Parsons J. L. (1993). Creative, intellectual, and psychosocial development through mentorship. Youth and Society, 25, 202–221.
Kaufman F., Harrell G., Milam C., Woolverton N., & Miller J. (1986). The nature, role and influence of mentors in the lives of gifted adults. Journal of Counseling and Development, 64, 576–578.
Klass D. (1988). Parental grief: Solace and resolution. New York: Springer.
Klass D. (1996). Grief in Easter culture: Japanese ancestor worship. In Klass D., Silverman P. R., & Nickman S. L. (Eds.), Continuing Bonds: Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis.
Klass D., Silverman P. R., & Nickman S. L. (Eds.). (1996). Continuing bonds: New understandings of grief. Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis.
Levinson D. J. (1978). The seasons of a man's life. New York: Knopf.
Marwit S. J., & Klass D. (1994/95). Grief and the role of the inner representation of the deceased. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 30, 283–289.
Meth R. L., & Pasick R. S. (Eds.). (1990). Men in therapy: The challenge of change. New York: Guilford Press.
Meuser T. M., & Marwit S. J. (In press). An integrative model of personality, coping and appraisal in the prediction of grief involvement in adults. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying.
Morgenson G. (1992). Greeting the angels: An imaginal view of the mourning process. Amityville, NY: Baywood.
Piper W. E., McCallum M., & Azim H. F. A. (1992). Adaptation to loss through short-term psychotherapy. New York: Guilford Press.
Rosenbaltt P., & Meyer M. (1986). Imagined interactions and the family. Family Relations, 35, 319–324.
Rubin S. (1985). The resolution of bereavement: A clinical focus of the relationship of the deceased. Psychotherapy, 22(2), 231–235.
Silverman P. R., & Klass D. (1996). Introduction: What's the problem? In Klass D., Silverman P. R., & Nickman S. L. (Eds.), Continuing Bonds: Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis.
Silverman P. R., Nickman S., & Worden J. W. (1995). Detachment revisited: The childs reconstruction of a dead parent. In Doka K. J. (Ed.), Children mourning, mourning children (pp. 131–148). Washington, DC: Hospice Foundation of America.
Stroebe M., Gergen M. M., Gergen K. J., & Stroebe W. (1992). Broken hearts or broken bonds: Love and death in historical perspective. American Psychologist, 47, 1205–1212.
Torrence E. P. (1984). Mentor relationships: How they aid creative achievement, endure, change, and die. Buffalo, NY: Bearly, Ltd.
Worden J. W. (1982). Grief counseling and grief therapy: A handbook for the mental health practitioner. New York: Springer.
Worden J. W. (1991). Grief counseling and grief therapy: A handbook for the mental health practitioner (2nd Ed.). New York: Springer.
Yamamoto J., Okonoji K., Iwasaki T., & Yoshimura S. (1969). Mourning in Japan. American Journal of Psychiatry, 126, 74–182.
Zey M. G. (1984). The mentor connection. Homewood, IL: Dow Jones-Irwin.
Zuckerman H. (1977). Scientific elite: Nobel laureates in the United States. New York: Free Press.

Cite article

Cite article

Cite article


Download to reference manager

If you have citation software installed, you can download article citation data to the citation manager of your choice

Share options


Share this article

Share with email

Share access to this article

Sharing links are not relevant where the article is open access and not available if you do not have a subscription.

For more information view the Sage Journals article sharing page.

Information, rights and permissions


Published In

Article first published: October 2000
Issue published: October 2000

Rights and permissions

© 2000 SAGE Publications.
Request permissions for this article.


Published online: October 1, 2000
Issue published: October 2000



Samuel J. Marwit
University of Missouri, St. Louis
Clayton Lessor
University of Missouri, St. Louis


Direct reprint requests to: Samuel J. Marwit, Department of Psychology, University of Missouri at St. Louis, 8001 Natural Bridge Road, St. Louis, MO 63121

Metrics and citations


Journals metrics

This article was published in OMEGA - Journal of Death and Dying.


Article usage*

Total views and downloads: 32

*Article usage tracking started in December 2016

Articles citing this one

Web of Science: 3 view articles Opens in new tab

Crossref: 2

  1. Meaning Reconstruction in the Context of Religious Coping: Rebuilding ...
    Go to citation Crossref Google Scholar
  2. Book Reviews: Continuing Bonds: New Understandings of Grief, Angels of...
    Go to citation Crossref Google Scholar

Figures and tables

Figures & Media


View Options

Get access

Access options

If you have access to journal content via a personal subscription, university, library, employer or society, select from the options below:

ADEC members can access this journal content using society membership credentials.

ADEC members can access this journal content using society membership credentials.

Alternatively, view purchase options below:

Purchase 24 hour online access to view and download content.

Access journal content via a DeepDyve subscription or find out more about this option.

View options


View PDF/ePub