Couples at risk following the death of their child: predictors of grief versus depression

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2005 Aug;73(4):617-23. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.73.4.617.


This longitudinal study examined the relative impact of major variables for predicting adjustment (in terms of both grief and depression) among bereaved parents following the death of their child. Couples (N = 219) participated 6, 13, and 20 months postloss. Use of multilevel regression analyses enabled assessment of the impact of several predictors and facilitated analysis of factors that were either shared by parents or individual. Grief was predicted mainly by shared parent factors: child's age, cause and unexpectedness of death, and number of remaining children. By contrast, depression was predicted by individual parent factors: gender, religious affiliation, and professional help seeking. Theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Death*
  • Bereavement*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Parents
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors