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Bereavement Identification Improvements Needed

Am J Psychiatry; ePub 2016 May 24; Cozza, et al

Significant modification is needed to improve case identification by DSM-5 persistent complex bereavement disorder diagnostic criteria, according to a recent study. Researchers aimed to examine the accuracy of the DSM-5 proposed criteria for persistent complex bereavement disorder in identifying putative cases of clinically impairing grief and in excluding nonclinical cases. They evaluated 1,732 family members of US military service members who died of any cause since September 11, 2001. They found:

• Criteria sets varied in their ability to identify clinical cases.

• DSM-5 persistent complex bereavement disorder criteria identified 53%, prolonged grief disorder criteria identified 59%, and complicated grief criteria identified more than 90% of putative clinical cases.

• All criteria sets accurately excluded virtually all nonclinical grief cases and accurately excluded depression in the absence of clinical grief.

Citation: Cozza SJ, Fisher JE, Mauro C, et al. Performance of DSM-5 persistent complex bereavement disorder criteria in a community sample of bereaved military family members. [Published online ahead of print May 24, 2016]. Am J Psychiatry. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.15111442.