Suicidality and bereavement: complicated grief as psychiatric disorder presenting greatest risk for suicidality

Suicide Life Threat Behav. Winter 2004;34(4):350-62. doi: 10.1521/suli.34.4.350.53737.


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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bereavement*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires