Symptoms of prolonged grief disorder as per DSM-5-TR, posttraumatic stress, and depression : Latent classes and correlations with anxious and depressive avoidance

Bereavement may precipitate significant mental health problems. Prolonged grief disorder (PGD) is included in section 2 of the forthcoming DSM-5 text-revision (DSM-5-TR). Research using earlier criteria of disordered grief showed that bereaved people may have distinct symptom patterns—including high, low, and comorbid symptomatology.


Building on that work, we used latent class analysis to identity subgroups of bereaved individuals based on their endorsement of symptoms of PGD (per DSM-5-TR), posttraumatic stress, and depression. We also examined if class-membership was associated with socio-demographic and loss-related variables and anxious and depressive avoidance behaviors. Self-reported data were available from 436 people, mostly women, mostly bereaved by the death of their partner or child. Three subgroups were identified, evidencing low symptom levels
(34.2%), predominantly PGD symptoms (38.7%), and high symptom levels (27%), respectively. Shorter time since loss, lower education, loss of a partner, and unnatural/violent deaths increased chances of inclusion in the high symptoms class. Anxious and depressive avoidance were lowest in the low symptoms class, higher in the PGD class, and strongest in the high symptoms class. Findings show that PGD per DSM-5-TR is a distinct condition and underscore that reducing avoidance behaviors is important in the treatment of post-loss psychopathology.

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Paul A. Boelen | 2021
In: Psychiatry Research ; ISSN: 0165-1781 | 302 | August | 114033
Anxiety Disorders, Avoidance, Bereavement, Depressive Disorders, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Prolonged Grief Disorder, Psychotrauma, PTSD (DSM-5), PTSD (en), Research
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