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Social problem solving in complicated grief


Correspondence should be addressed to Professor Richard A. Bryant, School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia (e-mail:


Objectives. This study investigated social problem solving (SPS) and autobiographical memory specificity in complicated grief (CG).

Design. The study employed a cross-sectional design, comparing the responses of bereaved individuals with and without CG.

Methods. Twenty-one individuals with CG and twenty-two No-CG bereaved individuals completed a means-ends problem-solving (MEPS) task and a cue word autobiographical memory retrieval task (AMT).

Results. CG was associated with significantly poorer performance on the MEPS and AMT tasks. After controlling for levels of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, CG remained a significant independent predictor of MEPS scores. Categoric recall was not an independent predictor after controlling for symptoms.

Conclusions. This finding indicates that CG is associated with deficits in SPS, which may contribute to maintenance of deficits associated with CG.