Get access

Suicidality and Bereavement: Complicated Grief as Psychiatric Disorder Presenting Greatest Risk for Suicidality


  • This work was supported in part by grants MH56529 (HGP) and MH63892 (HGP) from the National Institute of Mental Health, CA106370 (HGP) from the National Cancer Institute, a grant from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (HGP), a Soros Open Society Institute Project on Death in America Faculty Scholarship (HGP), and a NIH Cancer Education Grant/Yale Cancer Center Medical Student Research Training Fellowship (AEL).

Rm. 522, Connecticut Mental Health Center, 34 Park Street, New Haven, CT 06519; E-mail:


The influence of complicated grief (CG) on suicidality among bereaved adults was examined. The Yale Evaluation of Suicidality scale and the Inventory of Complicated Grief-Revised were administered to 309 bereaved adults in face-to-face interviews conducted at baseline (6.2 months post-loss) and at follow-up (10.8 months post-loss). Cross-sectionally, CG was associated with a 6.58 (95% CI: 1.74–18.0) times greater likelihood of “high suicidality” at baseline, and an 11.30 (95% CI: 3.33–38.10) times greater risk of high suicidality at follow-up, after controlling for gender, race, major depressive disorder (MDD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social support. Longitudinally, CG at baseline was associated with an 8.21 (95% CI: 2.49–27.0) times greater likelihood of high suicidality at follow-up, controlling for the above confounders. The study results indicate that CG substantially heightened the risk of suicidality after controlling for important confounders such as MDD and PTSD, suggesting that CG poses an independent psychiatric risk for suicidal thoughts and actions.