Risks for complicated grief in family caregivers

J Soc Work End Life Palliat Care. 2011;7(2-3):216-40. doi: 10.1080/15524256.2011.593158.


Complicated grief (CG) is a recently recognized disorder experienced by the bereaved and characterized by intense distress that interferes with functioning. Estimates indicate that about 20 % of bereaved individuals may develop CG. Family caregivers of those who are chronically ill may face unique risks for CG, such as pre-death stressors associated with caregiving. In this article, existing literature on CG in family caregivers is reviewed to identify pre-bereavement risk factors for the disorder. Implications for practice are also discussed, including both preventive interventions that could be instituted before the ill person's death and therapeutic techniques for treating CG after the death.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bereavement
  • Caregivers
  • Counseling
  • Family / psychology*
  • Grief*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Mental Health
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology