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DABDA: The Five Stages of Coping With Death


Updated August 17, 2009

Definition: The five stages of coping with dying were described by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her classic book On Death and Dying in 1969. The stages have been abbreviated as DABDA and stand for:
  • D - Denial
  • A - Anger
  • B - Bargaining
  • D - Depression
  • A - Acceptance

The five stages of the Kübler-Ross stage model are the best-known description of the emotional and psychological responses that many people experience when faced with a life-threatening illness or life-changing situation. These stages don't only apply to loss as a result of death but may also occur in someone who experience a different life-changing event such as a divorce or loss of a job.

These stages are not meant to be complete or chronological. Not everyone who experiences a life-threatening or life-changing event feels all five of the responses nor will everyone who does experience them do so in the order that is written. Reactions to illness, death, and loss are as unique as the person experiencing them.


DABDA. Urban Slang Dictionary. Available at: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=dabda

Kübler-Ross, E. On Death and Dying. 1969. New York, NY: Scribner Publishers.

Also Known As: DABDA (Listed in Urban Slang Dictionary)
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