Department of Psychology: Samuel J. Marwit


Dr. Marwit retired from the department in 2006.

For current contact information, please call the psychology department:

Phone: (314) 516-5391
Fax: (314) 516-5392

1959-1963: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, B.A.
1963-1968: State University of New York, Buffalo, New York, Ph.D.

Professional Certificates and Licenses
Professor Emeritus, Psychology, University of Missouri - Saint Louis
Licensed Health Service Provider, State of Missouri
National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology
Diplomat in Clinical Psychology, American Board of Professional Psychology
Fellow, American Academy of Clinical Psychology
Editorial Boards: Professional Psychology, 1978 - 1984
Omega: Journal of Death and Dying 2000
Death Studies 2001-

Primary Interests
End of life issues, including grief and bereavement, chronic illness, caregiving, hospice, behavioral telehealth.

Research Program
One line of research is studying the grief reactions of caregivers of patients with dementia. My collaborators include Thomas Meuser, Ph.D. (Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Washington University Medical School) and Sara Sanders, Ph.D. (School of Social Work at the University of Iowa). We are looking at the grief process in caregivers at different stages of the disease, including post-death, and also looking at differences between spousal and adult child caregivers. So far, we have developed a stage sensitive, caregiver type sensitive model of the course of grief, as well as a stage sensitive, caregiver type sensitive scale of grief that will allow professionals to focus intervention strategies appropriately. The measure, the Marwit and Meuser Caregiver Grief Inventory (MM-CGI) is now available in its original 50-item full scale version (Marwit& Meuser, 2002) and 15-item short form (Meuser, Marwit, & Sanders, in press). Both versions allow for measurement of three factors: Personal Sacrifice Burden, Heartfelt Sadness and Longing, and Worry and Felt Isolation. Studies in progress include further validation of the MM-CGI, assessment of its specificity, and use in clinical intervention, and the communication patterns of couples where one spouse is in early to middle stages of dementia.

A second line of research is aimed at better understanding the nature of grief as well as ways of coping with grief. Some of these studies involve theoretical issues, such as the nature of grief, both normal and complicated, and how they interplay with traditional DSM diagnostic categories. I am also interested in the continuing bonds with deceased relatives and mentors; i.e., the role played by the deceased in the ongoing lives of the survivors. Along with others, I have looked at positive continuing bonds, and now want to turn some attention to negative bonds; that is, the ongoing role played by negatively valued deceased

I have done some work with spousal bereavement, but have always been most interested in parental bereavement. Toward that end, I am collecting data on parents who have had children die from accidents, illness, and homicide. Along with a number of graduate student collaborators, I are looking at various coping strategies following suppositions laid down by theories of religious coping, assumptive world views, and posttraumatic growth.

I am interested in hospice as an alternative to hospital care for the dying. I have done some work with hospice programs, written a theoretical paper on the role of mental health in hospice care, been part of an international team which established Western-style hospice programs in the Baltic countries, and currently am waiting word on a grant proposal to study hospice care for Alzheimer's patients.

Recent (representative) Publications
Marwit, S. J., & Klass, D. (1988-89). Toward a model of parental grief. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 19, 31‑50.

Marwit, S. J. (1991). DSM III‑R, grief reactions and a call for revision. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 22, 75-79.

Meuser, T., Davies R., & Marwit, S. J. (1995). Personality and conjugal bereavement in mature widow(er)s. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 30, 223-235.

Marwit, S. J., & Klass, D. (1995). Grief and the role of the inner representation of the deceased. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 30, 283-298. Expanded version in P. R. Silverman, S. Nickman, and D. Klass, (Eds.), (1996), Continuing bonds: New understandings of grief. Taylor and Francis.

Marwit, S. J. (1996). Reliability of diagnosing complicated grief: A preliminary investigation. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64, 563-568.

Datson, S., & Marwit, S. J. (1997) Personality constructs and perceived presence of deceased loved ones. Death Studies, 21 (2), 131-146.

Marwit, S. J. (1997). Professional psychology's role in hospice care. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 28(5), 457-463. Excerpted, by request, in Crossroads of Life: National Hospice Magazine, (1998), 3(2).

Marwit, S. J., & Carusa, S. S. (1998). Communicated support following loss: Examining the experiences of parental death and parental divorce in adolescence. Death Studies. 21(2), 131-146.

Marwit, S. J., & Lessor, C. (2000). Role of deceased mentors in the ongoing lives of proteges, Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 41(2), 125-138.

Meuser, T. M, & Marwit, S. J. (In press). An integrative model of personality, coping and appraisal for the prediction of grief involvement in adults. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying.

Marwit, S. J. (In press). Grief and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Encyclopedia of Death and Dying.

Wickie, S. J., & Marwit, S. J. (In press). Assumptive World Views of Parents of Murdered Children, Omega: Journal of Death and Dying..

Jorgensen, M., & Marwit, S. J., (In press). Social support needs of patients with AIDS, AIDS Care.

Meuser, T., & Marwit, S. J. (2001). A comprehensive, stage-sensitive model of grief in dementia caregiving. The Gerontologist, 41(5), 658-670.

Marwit, S. J., & Datson, S., (2002). Disclosure preferences about terminal illness: An examination of decision-related factors. Death Studies, 26(1), 1-21.

Enright, B. P., & Marwit, S. J., (2002). Reliability of diagnosing complicated grief: A closer look. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58(7), 747-757.

Marwit, S.J., & Meuser, T. (2002). Development and initial validation of an inventory to assess grief in caregivers of persons with Alzheimer's Disease. The Gerontologist, 42(6), 751-765.

Matthews, L., & Marwit, S. J. Examining the assumptive world views of parents bereaved by accident, homicide, and illness., (in press). Omega: Journal of Death and Dying.

Meuser, T. M., Marwit, S. J., and Sanders, S. (in press). Grief and dementia caregivers: A model for assessment and intervention. In K. Doka (Ed.) Living with Grief: Alzheimer's Disease, Hospice Foundation of America.

Grants Received and Pending
Development of a comprehensive, stage-sensitive model and associated psychometric instrument for the measurement of anticipatory grief in caregivers of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease: A pilot study. Alzheimer's Association (with T. Meuser, Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Washington University School of Medicine), period of study: 10/99-9/01, $51,665.

Loss recognition and contextual awareness in the Alzheimer's caregiver-spouse relationship: Towards a marital intervention for grief-related adjustment. Alzheimer's Association (co-PI with T. Meuser, Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Washington University School of Medicine), period of study: 10/1/01-9/30/03, $55,968.

A structured intervention to reduce caregiver grief and emotional distress: Development and pilot study. Missouri State Alzheimer's Disease and Associated Disorders (with T. Meuser, Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Washington University School of Medicine), recently notified of funding, $7,000.