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Keywords:

  • accident;
  • bereavement;
  • depressive state;
  • general health;
  • grief;
  • sudden death;
  • suicide

Abstract  To evaluate how the suddenness and unnaturalness of death affect general health, depression, and grief, a total of 215 responses to a questionnaire from the bereaved were analyzed. The respondents were divided into five groups: bereaved by suicide, accident, acute illness (<1 day from onset), shorter illness (<1 year from onset), and longer illness. Every sudden-death group indicated averages higher than the clinical threshold on general health scale and depression scale. After statistically controlling for respondents' age, the deceased's age at death, and the months spent with the deceased, differences among groups appeared on all but the subscales of somatic symptoms and of anxiety and insomnia. The difference seemed more apparent on emotional reaction than on physical distress. On pairwise tests suicide was found to be the most distinctive bereavement.