Comparison of proposed diagnostic criteria for pathological grief using a sample of elderly bereaved spouses in Denmark: Perspectives on future bereavement research

Background: A distinct grief-specific disorder is included in the ICD-11. Lack of clarity remains regarding whether different proposed diagnostic criteria capture similar or different diagnostic entities. Our aim was to examine the specificity of four proposed diagnostic criteria-sets for pathological grief in a population-based sample. 

Methods: Participants were 206 conjugally bereaved elderly Danes (59% female; mean age = 72.5 years, SD = 4.2; range 65–81) who completed self-report questionnaires six months post-loss. The main measure was the Danish version of Inventory of Complicated Grief-Revised. 

Results: Results indicate substantial agreement between Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD), Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder (PCBD) and ICD-11-PGD (kappa's = 0.69–0.84), which found 6–9% of cases tested positive for pathological grief. Complicated Grief (CG) was partly in agreement with the three other symptomdiagnostic tests (kappa's = 0.13–0.20), and the prevalence-rate of pathological grief was 48%. 

Limitations: The low response-rate of 39%. The selective inclusion of data ≥6 months post-loss prevents a comparison of acute and prolonged grief reactions. Using self-reported data, not diagnostic interviews, challenges the validity of our findings. Using a sample of elderly people may limit the generalizability of our results to other age groups. Conclusion: We suggest that PGD, PCBD and ICD-11-PGD may be more discriminative in identifying a specific grief-related psychopathology, while CG may identify a broader set of grief reactions.



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Reference: 
Maja O'Connor ; Mathias Lasgaard ; Lene Larsen ; Maja Johannsen ; Marie Lundorff ; Ingeborg Farver-Vestergaard ; Paul A. Boelen | 2019
In: Journal of Affective Disorders ISSN: 0165-0327 | 251 | may | 52-59
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0165032718329987?via%3Dihub
Keywords: 
Bereavement, Diagnosis, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD (ICD-11), Traumatic Grief
Affiliation author(s):