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The distinctiveness of prolonged grief and posttraumatic stress disorder in adults bereaved by the attacks of September 11th.

Barnes JB, Dickstein BD, Maguen S, Neria Y, Litz BT. The distinctiveness of prolonged grief and posttraumatic stress disorder in adults bereaved by the attacks of September 11th. Journal of affective disorders. 2012 Feb 1; 136(3):366-9.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD) is a new diagnosis proposed for inclusion in the DSM-V. Although some studies have shown the distinctiveness of PGD and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this relationship has yet to be tested within a context of sudden, violent loss. METHOD: We conducted an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) using self-report data collected from a sample of 587 bereaved adults who lost friends and relatives in the attacks of September 11th. Participants completed a 9-item PGD screening measure and the 17-item PTSD Checklist. RESULTS: A five factor solution representing two distinct constructs emerged from our analysis. Although two PGD items loaded onto factors containing PTSD symptoms, these items assessed non-specific symptomatology (i.e., generalized negative affect). Thus, overall, our results support the distinctiveness of PGD and PTSD within a context of sudden, violent loss. LIMITATIONS: Data were collected using self-report. The representativeness of our sample is uncertain. CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide a stringent test of construct validity and suggest that PGD warrants inclusion in the diagnostic nosology. Adding PGD to the DSM-V will help clinicians better assess and treat psychopathology resulting from grief.





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