Do You Need Closure?

When it comes to the end of a relationship, the loss of a loved one, or even a national tragedy, we are often told we need “closure.” But while many people do find closure for their pain and grief, many more feel closure does not exist. They believe the notion only promises false hopes. Sociologist Nancy Berns explores these ideas and their ramifications in her timely book, Closure.

Nancy Berns

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What Others Are Saying

It is my great hope that Nancy Bernsʼ wonderful book Closure will finally bring “closure” to that most misused and unhelpful term. Berns offers a penetrating analysis that moves beyond the ways that the term is actually destructive to grieving individuals to a consideration of the formidable forces that keep such a notion in the forefront of our discourse on loss. This book is a “must read” for any one interested in the grieving process.

Kenneth J. Doka, Ph.D.
Professor of Gerontology
The College of New Rochelle
Senior Consultant, The Hospice Foundation of America

Closure examines how contemporary Americans—with their inalienable right to pursue happiness—have created a new emotion to help themselves deal with disappointment, loss, and grief. The need to find closure can justify forgetting or remembering, moving on or getting even, to say nothing of making a buck. Sprinkled with examples that range from hilarious to heartbreaking, this book explores closureʼs many meanings and uses.

Joel Best, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice
University of Delaware
Author of Everyone’s a Winner: Life in Our Congratulatory Culture


  • Charles Horton Cooley Award for Best Book from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, 2013
  • Honorable Mention from the Sociology of Emotions section of the American Sociological Association, 2012