Psychological Medicine

Quality of life impairments associated with diagnostic criteria for traumatic grief

G. K. SILVERMAN a1, S. C. JACOBS a1, S. V. KASL a1, M. K. SHEAR a1, P. K. MACIEJEWSKI a1, F. S. NOAGHIUL a1 and H. G. PRIGERSON a1c1
a1 Department of Psychiatry, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, the Program on Aging and the Donaghue Women's Health Investigator Program, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA


Background. This study examined the association between a diagnosis of traumatic grief and quality of life outcomes.

Method. Sixty-seven widowed persons were interviewed at a median of 4 months after their loss. The multiple regression procedure was used to estimate the effects of a traumatic grief diagnosis on eight quality of life domains, controlling for age, sex, time from loss and diagnoses of major depressive episode and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Results. A positive traumatic grief diagnosis was significantly associated with lower social functioning scores, worse mental health scores, and lower energy levels than a negative traumatic grief diagnosis. In each of these domains, traumatic grief was found to be a better predictor of lower scores than either major depressive episode or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Conclusions. The results suggest that a traumatic grief diagnosis is significantly associated with quality of life impairments. These findings provide evidence supporting the criterion validity of the proposed consensus criteria and the newly developed diagnostic interview for traumatic grief – the Traumatic Grief Evaluation of Response to Loss (TRGR2L).

c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Holly G. Prigerson, Room 522, Connecticut Mental Health Center, 34 Park Street, New Haven, CT 06519, USA.