Author(s): Melhem NM, Moritz G, Walker M, Shear MK, Brent D
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To describe the phenomenology of complicated grief (CG) in parentally bereaved children and adolescents and to examine its correlates. METHOD: This is a preliminary report from an ongoing 5-year, population-based, longitudinal study of the impact of parental loss on family members. Analyses of cross-sectional data at intake are presented. The sample consists of 129 children and adolescents of parents who died by suicide, accident, or sudden natural death. Their average age is 13.3 +/- 3.1 years (range 7-18 years). A modified version of the Inventory of Complicated Grief-Revised (ICG-R) was administered and its factor structure, internal consistency, and convergent and discriminant validity were examined. RESULTS: CG was significantly related to functional impairment even after controlling for current depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder. CG was also associated with other measures of psychopathology, including suicidal ideation. CONCLUSIONS: In this preliminary analysis, CG appears to be a clinically significant syndrome in children and adolescents. Longitudinal data will help to clarify the prognostic significance of CG as well as to examine the interrelationship of CG and other psychopathology over time.
This article was published in J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry
and referenced in Journal of Child and Adolescent Behavior