Does the concept of a broken heart have some grounding in reality? Can grief affect the body in ways that necessitate medical care and may even be life-threatening? Scholars from diverse disciplines report on research and explore key issues in this comprehensive review of scientific knowledge on the consequences of losing a loved person through death. Detailed coverage is given to the phenomenology of grief, distinctions between normal and pathological grief, and measurement and assessment techniques. Current theories are reviewed and underlying physiological mechanisms are surveyed, which help explain why the bereaved are highly vulnerable to ill health. Analyses also go beyond the consideration of marital bereavement to consider many different types of loss, including the special cases of bereavement among AIDS survivors and Holocaust survivors. Evaluations are provided of the availability and efficacy of many different types of support for bereaved people, ranging from informal help to self-help groups to various counseling and therapy intervention programs.