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01-06-2011 | Uitgave 2/2011

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 2/2011

Separation and Traumatic Distress in Prolonged Grief: The Role of Cause of Death and Relationship to the Deceased

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment > Uitgave 2/2011
Jason M. Holland, Robert A. Neimeyer
Belangrijke opmerkingen
The views expressed here are the authors’ own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Government.


A distinction has been drawn between symptoms of separation distress (e.g., yearning/longing for the lost relationship) and traumatic distress (e.g., numbness, anger/bitterness) in prolonged grief disorder (PGD), a chronic and severe form of grieving that has been shown to predict a range of negative mental and physical health outcomes. The present study relied upon information from 947 recently bereaved young adults and tested the hypothesis that levels of separation distress primarily would be influenced by aspects of the relationship with the deceased (i.e., primary attachment figures vs. more distant relationships), whereas levels of traumatic distress would be influenced more by situational factors surrounding the death itself (i.e., cause of death). Results generally supported this hypothesis with a few important qualifications. Implications for the assessment and treatment of bereaved individuals are discussed.

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