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Biol Psychiatry. 1997 Mar 15;41(6):710-6.

Sleep in the wake of complicated grief symptoms: an exploratory study.

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  • 1Mental Health Clinical Research Center for the Study of Late-Life Mood Disorders, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


Our aim was to explore the concept that the symptoms of complicated grief may be a form of posttraumatic distress, rather than depression, and thus may have different effects on sleep. Sixty-five recently bereaved elders with varying levels of symptoms of complicated grief and depression were stratified by high versus low levels of symptoms; a two-way analysis of variance examined main effects of level of complicated grief symptoms and depressive symptoms on selected sleep measures, as well as interactions. Complicated grief symptoms were independently associated with mild subjective sleep impairment but showed no main effects on electroencephalographic (EEG) sleep measures. In a multiple regression analysis, complicated grief symptoms interacted with depressive symptoms to increase REM sleep percent. Thus, it appears that complicated grief symptoms do not entail the changes of EEG sleep physiology seen in depression, with the possible exception of an interaction with coexisting depression to enhance REM sleep percent.

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