Public stigma of prolonged grief disorder: An experimental study

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Prolonged grief disorder (PGD), characterized by severe, persistent and disabling grief, is being considered for inclusion in the International Classification of Diseases’ 11 (ICD-11) and a related disorder, Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder (PCBD), is included for further investigation in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5). Establishing diagnoses for pathological grief may lead to stigmatization. Additionally, it has been argued that people experiencing severe grief responses after loss of non-family members (i.e., disenfranchised grief) may experience more stigmatizing reactions. Yet, no research to date has investigated this. To fill this gap in knowledge, 379 adults from the general population were randomly allocated to read one of 4 different vignettes of a person with and without a grief disorder diagnosis who had lost a friend or a spouse. After reading the vignettes, we assessed: 1) characteristics ascribed to the person, 2) emotional reactions to the person, and 3) desire for social distance. Notably, people with a diagnosis were attributed relatively more negative characteristics, and elicited more anger, anxiety and pro-social emotions and a stronger desire for social distance. Stigmatization and its negative consequences appear a valid concern to the establishment of pathological grief disorders in diagnostic manuals.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)173-177
Aantal pagina's5
TijdschriftPsychiatry Research
Volume261
Vroegere onlinedatum2-jan.-2018
DOI's
StatusPublished - mrt.-2018

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