Measurement and assessment of grief in a large international sample

Elsevier, Journal of Affective Disorders, Volume 327, 2023
C. Killikelly, A. Kagialis, S. Henneman, H. Coronado, D. Demanarig, H. Farahani, A.A. Özdoğru, B. Yalçın, A. Yockey, C.L. Gosnell, F. Jia, M. Maisel, E. Stelzer, D. Wilson, J. Anderson, K. Charles, J.P. Cummings, C. Faas, B. Knapp, B. Koneczny, C. Koch, L.M. Bauer, C. Cuccolo, J.E. Edlund, G.F. Heermans, S. McGillivray, C. Shane-Simpson, A. Staples, Z. Zheng, M.S. Zlokovich, M.S. Irgens

In 2022, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) and an update of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5 TR) were released for implementation worldwide and now include the new Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD). The newest definition of PGD is based on robust clinical research from the Global North yet until now has not been tested for global applicability.

The current study assesses the new PGD ICD-11 criteria in a large international sample of 1393 bereaved adults. The majority of the sample was included from the USΑ. Additionally, we conduct a sub-sample analysis to evaluate the psychometric properties, probable caseness of PGD, and differences in network structure across three regions of residency (USA, Greece-Cyprus, Turkey-Iran).

The psychometric validity and reliability of the 33-item International Prolonged Grief Disorder Scale (IPGDS) were confirmed across the whole sample and for each regional group. Using the strict diagnostic algorithm, the probable caseness for PGD for the whole sample was 3.6 %. Probable caseness was highest for the Greece-Cyprus group (6.9 %) followed by Turkey-Iran (3.2 %) and the USA (2.8 %). Finally, the network structure of the IPGDS standard items and cultural supplement items (total of 33 items) confirmed the strong connection between central items of PGD, and revealed unique network connections within the regional groups.

Future research is encouraged to include larger sample sizes and a more systematic assessment of culture.

Overall, our findings confirm the global applicability of the new ICD-11 PGD disorder definition as evaluated through the newly developed IPGDS. This scale includes culturally sensitive grief symptoms that may improve clinical precision and decision-making.