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Optimizing the clinical utility of four proposed criteria for a persistent and impairing grief disorder by emphasizing core, rather than associated symptoms


Cozza, Stephen J; Shear, M Katherine; Reynolds, Charles F; Fisher, Joscelyn E; Zhou, Jing; Maercker, Andreas; Simon, Naomi; Mauro, Christine; Skritskaya, Natalia; Zisook, Sidney; Lebowitz, Barry; Bloom, Colleen Gribbin; Fullerton, Carol S; Ursano, Robert J (2020). Optimizing the clinical utility of four proposed criteria for a persistent and impairing grief disorder by emphasizing core, rather than associated symptoms. Psychological Medicine, 50(3):438-445.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Distinguishing a disorder of persistent and impairing grief from normative grief allows clinicians to identify this often undetected and disabling condition. As four diagnostic criteria sets for a grief disorder have been proposed, their similarities and differences need to be elucidated.

METHODS: Participants were family members bereaved by US military service death (N = 1732). We conducted analyses to assess the accuracy of each criteria set in identifying threshold cases (participants who endorsed baseline Inventory of Complicated Grief ⩾30 and Work and Social Adjustment Scale ⩾20) and excluding those below this threshold. We also calculated agreement among criteria sets by varying numbers of required associated symptoms.

RESULTS: All four criteria sets accurately excluded participants below our identified clinical threshold (i.e. correctly excluding 86-96% of those subthreshold), but they varied in identification of threshold cases (i.e. correctly identifying 47-82%). When the number of associated symptoms was held constant, criteria sets performed similarly. Accurate case identification was optimized when one or two associated symptoms were required. When employing optimized symptom numbers, pairwise agreements among criteria became correspondingly 'very good' (κ = 0.86-0.96).

CONCLUSIONS: The four proposed criteria sets describe a similar condition of persistent and impairing grief, but differ primarily in criteria restrictiveness. Diagnostic guidance for prolonged grief disorder in International Classification of Diseases, 11th Edition (ICD-11) functions well, whereas the criteria put forth in Section III of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) are unnecessarily restrictive.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Distinguishing a disorder of persistent and impairing grief from normative grief allows clinicians to identify this often undetected and disabling condition. As four diagnostic criteria sets for a grief disorder have been proposed, their similarities and differences need to be elucidated.

METHODS: Participants were family members bereaved by US military service death (N = 1732). We conducted analyses to assess the accuracy of each criteria set in identifying threshold cases (participants who endorsed baseline Inventory of Complicated Grief ⩾30 and Work and Social Adjustment Scale ⩾20) and excluding those below this threshold. We also calculated agreement among criteria sets by varying numbers of required associated symptoms.

RESULTS: All four criteria sets accurately excluded participants below our identified clinical threshold (i.e. correctly excluding 86-96% of those subthreshold), but they varied in identification of threshold cases (i.e. correctly identifying 47-82%). When the number of associated symptoms was held constant, criteria sets performed similarly. Accurate case identification was optimized when one or two associated symptoms were required. When employing optimized symptom numbers, pairwise agreements among criteria became correspondingly 'very good' (κ = 0.86-0.96).

CONCLUSIONS: The four proposed criteria sets describe a similar condition of persistent and impairing grief, but differ primarily in criteria restrictiveness. Diagnostic guidance for prolonged grief disorder in International Classification of Diseases, 11th Edition (ICD-11) functions well, whereas the criteria put forth in Section III of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) are unnecessarily restrictive.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Applied Psychology
Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Language:English
Date:February 2020
Deposited On:19 Mar 2020 09:54
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 14:55
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0033-2917
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291719000254
PubMed ID:30829195

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