Rates of Prolonged Grief Disorder: Considering relationship to the person who died and cause of death

This research paper – from Kara Thieleman, Joanne Cacciatore, and Allen Frances – has been published in the Journal of Affective Disorders. The abstract says:


Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD) was recently included in DSM-5-TR. The rate of PGD is known to vary according to a number of factors and little is known about how bereaved individuals view the diagnosis.


This cross-sectional study assessed PGD rates using the Prolonged Grief-13-Revised (PG-13-R) among a large sample (n = 1137) of bereaved individuals, considering the relationship to the deceased and cause of death. It also investigated bereaved individuals’ attitudes toward the diagnosis.


Overall, 34.3 % of the sample met PGD criteria. Bereaved parents had the highest rate (41.6 %), followed by bereaved spouses/partners (33.7 %) and siblings (29.4 %). According to cause of death, those bereaved by substance overdose had the highest rate (59.1 %), followed by homicide/suicide (46 %) and accidental (36 %). The majority of respondents (65–95.6 %) viewed their responses, as measured by the PG-13-R items, as normal, and 98.1 % agreed that their responses in general were normal. Fewer than 12 % reported that a PGD diagnosis would be helpful to them.


This study used a self-selecting, non-representative sample that was predominantly female and white. Findings may or may not apply to more diverse groups and cannot be generalized. This study also used a self-report measure rather than a clinical interview.


In line with prior research, this study found higher rates of PGD in specific subgroups, including bereaved parents, spouses, and those who lost loved ones to substance overdose, homicide/suicide, or accidents. Bereaved individuals in this sample generally did not view receiving a diagnosis of PGD as helpful …”

You can read the full paper from here.

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