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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 218139 Find in a Library
Title: Phenomenology and Correlates of Complicated Grief in Children and Adolescents
Journal: Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry  Volume:46  Issue:4  Dated:April 2007  Pages:493-499
Author(s): Nadine M. Melhem Ph.D.; Grace Moritz MSW; Monica Walker M.A.; M. Katherine Shear M.D.; David Brent M.D.
Date Published: April 2007
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Bethesda, MD 20892-9561
Grant Number: R01 MH65368
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study identified the features of and factors related to "complicated grief" in children and adolescents who had experienced the death of a parent.
Abstract: This study concludes that "complicated grief" (CG) is apparently a clinically significant syndrome in children and adolescents. CG--defined from previous studies of adults as the constellation of symptoms that include longing and search for the deceased, preoccupation with thoughts of the deceased, purposelessness and futility about the future, and numbness and detachment from others--was found to be significantly related to functional impairment in a sample of children and adolescents (ages 7-18), even after controlling for current depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). CG was also associated with other measures of psychopathology, including suicidal thoughts. CG in children and adolescents did not differ by demographic characteristics and exposure to death. The lack of an association between CG and witnessing the death provides further evidence of the distinction between CG and PTSD, where exposure to a traumatic event is an essential criterion. CG scores of children and youth who had a parent who committed suicide were no different from those with a parent who died by accident or sudden natural death. CG scores decreased by 12 to 18 months after the death, compared to adults, for whom CG remained high for up to 25 months after peaking at 6 months. This is a preliminary report from an ongoing 5-year, population-based, longitudinal study of the impact of parental death on family members. The analyses pertain to cross-sectional data obtained at intake. The study sample consisted of 129 children and adolescents of parents who died by suicide, accident, or sudden natural death. A modified version of the Inventory of Complicated Grief-Revised was administered, and its factor structure, internal consistency, and convergent and discriminant validity were examined. 2 tables and 40 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile mental health services
Index Term(s): Grief; Post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD); Stress management
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