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Death Stud. 2008;32(4):352-65. doi: 10.1080/07481180801929012.

Elevated rates of prolonged grief disorder in African Americans.

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  • 1Herztberg Paliative Care Institute of the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA.


The prevalence of Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD) in non-Whites is currently unknown. This study was performed to explore the prevalence of PGD in African Americans (AAs). Multivariable analysis of two studies of recently bereaved individuals found AAs to have significantly higher rates of PGD than Whites (21% [14 of 66] vs. 12% [55 of 471], respectively; p = 0.03). Experiencing a loved one's death as sudden or unexpected was also significantly associated with PGD over and above the effects of race/ethnicity. AAs may be at increased risk for the development of PGD. The development of effective interventions to treat PGD highlights the need to identify high-risk individuals and refer them to therapy and suggests the potential need for such therapies to adopt culturally sensitive approaches to care.

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