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Keywords:

  • Prolonged Grief Disorder;
  • Children;
  • Adolescents;
  • Assessment

A significant minority of bereaved adults develops prolonged grief disorder (PGD), a syndrome encompassing debilitating symptoms of grief distinct from depression and anxiety. Few studies have examined the phenomenology and correlates of PGD among children and adolescents. In part, this is due to the lack of a psychometrically sound questionnaire to assess PGD symptoms in these groups. Based on an adult measure of PGD, we developed two questionnaires of PGD symptoms for children and adolescents named the Inventory of Prolonged Grief for Children (IPG-C) and Inventory of Prolonged Grief for Adolescents (IPG-A), respectively. Psychometric properties of these measures were examined in three samples, including mostly parentally bereaved children (aged 8–12 years, total sample n = 169) and adolescents (aged 13–18 years, total sample n = 153). First, findings showed that items of the IPG-C and IPG-A represented one underlying dimension. Second, the internal consistency and temporal stability of both questionnaires were adequate. Third, findings supported the concurrent validity (e.g., significant correlations with measures of depression and post-traumatic stress-disorder [PTSD]), convergent and divergent validity (stronger correlations with similar questionnaires of ‘traumatic grief’ than with two dissimilar questionnaires of ‘ongoing presence’ and ‘positive memories’) and incremental validity (significant correlations with an index of functional impairment, even when controlling for concomitant depression and PTSD) of the IPG-C and IPG-A. This report provides further evidence of the clinical significance of PGD symptoms among children and adolescents and promising psychometric properties of questionnaires that can be used to assess these symptoms. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Key Practitioner Message

  • The Inventory of Prolonged Grief for Children (IPG-C) and Inventory of Prolonged Grief for Adolescents (IPG-A) were developed to be able to assess symptoms of Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD) among children and adolescents.
  • In different samples, the internal consistency, temporal stability, and concurrent and construct validity of these questionnaires were found to be adequate.
  • The IPG-C and the IPG-A can be used in research examining causes and consequences of PGD, and the effectiveness of bereavement interventions for children and adolescents.
  • This study provides further evidence of the existence and clinical significance of PGD symptoms among children and adolescents and supports the inclusion of a new category for bereavement-related disorders in DSM-5.