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Kubler-Ross’s Stages of Dying

Medical professionals come across dying patients daily. Working with such patients effectively is difficult. Treating a terminal illness involves making the patient prepare for his death and various efforts to mitigate the adverse symptoms.

Oftentimes, we feel uncomfortable interacting or talking to a patient who is dying. Therefore, care providers after understanding the patient experiences of grief and dying can help in supporting their needs effectively.

So studying the Kubler-ross model can help people in developing insight into the perspective of the dying patient and hence become more comfortable.

Kubler Ross’s theory is the most important aspect studied in psychology.Hopefully, this essay can be helpful for students studying Psychology in Singapore educational institutions.

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Kubler Ross theory

The process of coping with dying was introduced in 1969 by Dr. Elizabeth kubler Ross. Kubler Ross, in her book on death and dying, describes the five stages of dying. The book consists of experiences of dying explored while interviewing ill patients. These stages are DABDA (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance)

Kubler Ross 5 stages of dying

These five stages describe what an individual goes through when they learn that they or their loved ones are dying.

Patients often use isolation and denial. It is a temporary shock that responds to bad news. Isolation arises from the family members and society.A patient doesn’t believe the doctor’s words and seeks out second opinions.

They may demand a new diagnosis or tests believing the outcome of the first result to be false. The denial stage can be used as a coping mechanism for many patients.

This stage denotes various ways of expression. It involves anger at God. The feeling of why I and thinking that other people are more deserving. The Envy of others when other people are enjoying life and ill people experiences pain.

The person showing anger towards families, society, nurses, and doctors. When not provided attention, a patient can raise his voice, complaint, become more demanding, and cry.

This stage is hard to study as it is between God and the ill patient.The negotiation can be internal, social, verbalized, or religious. It represents more belief in magical thinking or accepting help from caregivers.

Here patients have irrational hope. A patient may try to negotiate by saying things like if I can live for a few months more to see my son get married.

One can feel many losses at the same time. These are of two type’s reactive and preparatory depression. Past losses such as loss of mobility and job are reactive depression. The losses yet to arise such as dependency on the family are preparatory depression.

This stage accompanies mourning for losses. For example, expensive cancer treatment can force a patient to sell their home. As a result, a patient suffers a huge loss and slips into depression.

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The acceptance stage accompanies a void of feelings. This is not considered a happy stage. In this stage, a person gives up and realizes that his death is inevitable. This stage is considered to be a peaceful resolution.

Here a patient has accepted that death will occur and expects the quiet arrival of it. If a person reaches this stage, death is very peaceful. A person gets time to say goodbye to their loved ones. They can greet important people and things in their life.

Hope is a significant aspect in all the above stages. Only a person’s hope can help him in difficult times. While these five stages are unique for every individual. They do not follow the same linear pattern.

Kubler-ross criticism

  •   No real evidence against stages presenting coping with death
  • The limitations of the Kubler Ross research methodology were not
  • The whole life of a patient is overlooked and only prefer these stages No evidence that the patient coping with death moves through all stages
  • The stage theory focus is to prescribe and not describe
  • The patient’s environmental factors can play a significant role in affecting his attitude.


From the above discussion, we can conclude that Kubler-ross stages of dying are the most important theory in psychology. With this theory, Kubler Ross made an impact on society. It made people think about coping with death. Even though Kubler-ross stages of dying have many criticisms, it was also supported. The only problem lies in society’s failure in researching and following up her study.

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