This research was supported in part by grants NIMH K08 MH76078, the Todd Ouida Clinical Scholars Award, the Laurence Polatsch Memorial Fund, the Lynn Wilson Memorial Fund, and the Rachel Upjohn Clinical Scholars Award given to the first author. Drs. Layne and Kaplow hold proprietary rights to the Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder Checklist-Youth Version 1.0 and Adult Version 1.0, as well as the Bereavement Risk and Resilience Index. The authors wish to thank Michelle Belke, Alena Grieser, Heather Hammerstrom, Harriett Jones, Georgia Stamatopoulos, and Amanda Tarantowski for their assistance with conducting interviews. We also thank Amanda Burnside, Emilie Lerner, and Britney Wardecker for their assistance with project coordination and Valerie Elsesser, Kara Koppinger, Mirele Mann, and Meredith Merlanti for their assistance with data management and data entry. We also wish to thank Irwin Sandler, Tim Ayers, and Albert Cain for their guidance regarding study design. Finally, we wish to acknowledge the Gilda's Club of Grand Rapids staff for their administrative support, and all participating children and caregivers.
Do Circumstances of the Death Matter? Identifying Socioenvironmental Risks for Grief-Related Psychopathology in Bereaved Youth
Version of Record online: 29 JAN 2014
Copyright © 2014 International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
Journal of Traumatic Stress
Volume 27, Issue 1, pages 42–49, February 2014
How to Cite
Kaplow, J. B., Howell, K. H. and Layne, C. M. (2014), Do Circumstances of the Death Matter? Identifying Socioenvironmental Risks for Grief-Related Psychopathology in Bereaved Youth. J. Traum. Stress, 27: 42–49. doi: 10.1002/jts.21877
- Issue online: 10 FEB 2014
- Version of Record online: 29 JAN 2014
- NIMH K08 MH76078
- Todd Ouida Clinical Scholars Award
- Laurence Polatsch Memorial Fund
- Lynn Wilson Memorial Fund
We examined bereaved children's and surviving caregivers’ psychological responses following the death of the other caregiver as a function of the stated cause of death. Participants included 63 parentally bereaved children and 38 surviving caregivers who were assessed using self-report instruments and in-person interviews. Surviving caregivers reported the causes of death as resulting from sudden natural death (34.9%), illness (33.3%), accident (17.5%), and suicide (14.3%). Results revealed differences between caregiver-reported versus child-reported cause of death, particularly in cases of suicide. Children who lost a caregiver due to a prolonged illness exhibited higher levels of both maladaptive grief (d = 3.13) and posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS; d = 3.33) when compared to children who lost a caregiver due to sudden natural death (e.g., heart attack). In contrast, surviving caregivers did not differ in their levels of maladaptive grief and PTSS as a function of the cause of death; however, caregivers bereaved by sudden natural death reported higher levels of depression than those bereaved by prolonged illness (d = 1.36). Limited sample size prevented analysis of outcomes among those bereaved by suicide or accident. These findings suggest that anticipated deaths may contain etiologic risk factors for maladaptive grief and PTSS in children.
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