Psychiatric disorders among bereaved persons: the role of perceived circumstances of death and preparedness for death

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2002 Jul-Aug;10(4):447-57.


The authors evaluated the association between bereaved persons' perceptions of the death (e.g., extent of suffering) and preparedness for the death and psychiatric disorders. The sample was 122 persons who received a baseline interview at approximately 4 months post-loss and a follow-up interview 5 months later, at approximately 9 months post-loss. In addition to bivariate associations between perceptions of circumstances of death and psychiatric outcomes, authors used multivariate logistic-regression models to determine the extent to which perceptions of the death were associated with the likelihood of psychiatric disorders in survivors at baseline and follow-up. Perception of the death as more violent was associated with major depressive disorder at baseline. Perception of lack of preparedness for the death was associated with complicated grief at baseline and at follow-up. These preliminary results suggest that perceptions of the death and feelings of lack of preparedness for it may be indicators of persons at risk of developing psychiatric morbidity secondary to bereavement. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attitude to Death*
  • Bereavement*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Violence