Posttraumatic Stress Disorder After Bereavement: Early Psychological Sequelae of Losing a Close Relative Due to Terminal Cancer

T. E. Kristensen, A. Elklit, K. I. Karstoft

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Very few studies have investigated posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a consequence of bereavement from terminal illness. Therefore, knowledge on the traumatizing effects of bereavement and risk factors for traumatization from bereavement is rather sparse. This study investigated prevalence and predictors of PTSD in a group of people who had recently lost a close relative due to incurable cancer. The participants were 132 persons who were assessed with the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire, the Trauma Symptom Checklist, and the Crisis Support Scale. One month after the loss, 29.5% of the subjects had clinical PTSD and an additional 26.2% reached a subclinical PTSD level. Negative affectivity, social support, and locus of control in relation to the loss predicted 57% of the variance in PTSD severity. A focus on these risk factors in early assessment after bereavement will help identify subjects at risk for developing PTSD as a result of bereavement.
TidsskriftJournal of Loss & Trauma
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)508-521
Antal sider14
StatusUdgivet - 2012