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Complicated Grief

  • By: Colleen I. Murray
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Complicated grief (CG) is an emotional reaction to loss that falls outside of the expected norms for the culture in which it incurs; it differs from “normal grief” in the length of time or intensity of the symptoms experienced, and/or the extent of impairment to functioning in social, domestic, or occupational activities. Approximately 10% to 20% of the bereaved experience CG, and prevalence is higher in cases of sudden or violent loss. CG is being considered for inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM-V), the first disorder specific to bereavement. Its application to diverse populations has been limited, but a variety of therapeutic approaches have been advocated.

Defining Complicated Grief

CG is not defined by a single set of characteristics, and ...

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