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J Abnorm Psychol. 2007 May;116(2):342-51.

Is there more to complicated grief than depression and posttraumatic stress disorder? A test of incremental validity.

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Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA.


There is growing interest in complicated grief reactions as a possible new diagnostic category for inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. However, no research has yet shown that complicated grief has incremental validity (i.e., predicts unique variance in functioning). The authors addressed this issue in 2 studies by comparing grief, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms with different measures of functioning (interviewer ratings, friend ratings, self-report, and autonomic arousal). The 1st study (N = 73) used longitudinal data collected at 4 and 18 months postloss, and the 2nd study (N = 447) used cross-sectional data collected 2.5-3.5 years postloss. With depression and PTSD controlled, grief emerged as a unique predictor of functioning, both cross-sectionally and prospectively. The findings provide convergent support for the incremental validity of complicated grief as an independent marker of bereavement-related psychopathology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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