Risk for Complicated Grief After the COVID-19 Death of a Marital Partner in Late Life.

Publication date: Mar 01, 2024

To identify 1) complicated grief symptom clusters among acutely-bereaved older adults who have lost a spouse to COVID-19 and 2) if spousal death due to COVID-19 increased risk of developing probable PGD METHODS: Eighty adults participating in a randomized controlled trial for depression prevention (mean age [+/- SD] = 70. 4 [6. 6]) completed the Inventory of Complicated Grief, every 3 months over a maximum of 15 months. Twenty-four percent (n = 19) of participants lost a spouse to COVID-19; 76% (n = 61) lost a spouse to other causes of death. Adjusted linear regression examined the associations between COVID-19 bereavement and six symptom clusters: yearning and preoccupation, anger and bitterness, shock and disbelief, estrangement from others, hallucinations, and behavior change. Compared to the non-COVID-19 group, the COVID-19 bereaved group reported greater shock and disbelief, hallucinations of the deceased, and estrangement from others. COVID-19 death was also associated with higher risk for probable prolonged grief disorder (PGD) at 12 months (odds ratio = 4. 38, p = 0. 027). Older adults who have lost a spouse to COVID-19 present with specific symptoms of distress and may eventually require clinical care for PGD.

Concepts Keywords
Eighty Aging
Grief bereavement
Months grief
Psychiatry loss
Spouse mental health


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19
disease MESH Death
disease MESH symptom clusters
disease MESH causes of death
disease MESH shock
disease MESH prolonged grief disorder
disease MESH Long Covid

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