Do prolonged grief disorder symptoms predict post-traumatic stress symptoms following bereavement? : A cross-lagged analysis

Background: Bereavement can precipitate different forms of psychopathology, including prolonged grief disorder (PGD) and posttraumatic

stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. How these symptoms influence each other is unclear. The aim of this study was to examine the temporal

relationship of symptoms of PGD and PTSD following bereavement.

Methods: We included 204 individuals, confronted with the loss of a loved one within the past year, who completed self-report measures of

PGD and PTSD and again completed these measures one year later. We conducted a cross-lagged analysis to explore cross-lagged and

autoregressive relationships.

Results: A significant cross-lagged relationship was found between PGD symptoms at time point 1 (T1) and PTSD symptoms at time point 2

(T2) (β− = 0.270, p b 0.001). Furthermore, PGD symptoms at T1 predicted PGD symptoms at T2 and PTSD symptoms at predicted PTSD

symptoms at T2 (β− = 0.617 and β− = 0.458, ps b 0.001, respectively). In addition, PGD and PTSD symptoms were significantly

correlated on both time points.

Conclusions: We found that PGD symptoms predict PTSD symptoms after a loss. Potentially, this could help to design new strategies and

interventions for bereaved individuals. Additionally, PGD symptom levels predicted PGD symptom levels one year later, independently of

the PTSD levels. This finding adds to the accumulating evidence that PGD is a distinct disorder.



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Reference: 
A.A.A. Manik J. Djelantik, Geert E. Smid, Rolf J. Kleber, Paul A. Boelen | 2018
In: Comprehensive Psychiatry, ISSN 0010-440X | 80 | January | 65-71
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.comppsych.2017.09.001
Affiliation author(s):