Consensus criteria for traumatic grief: A preliminary empirical test

Holly G. Prigerson, M. Katherine Shear, Selby C. Jacobs, Charles F. Reynolds, Paul K. Maciejewski, Jonathan R.T. Davidson, Robert Rosenheck, Paul A. Pilkonis, Camille B. Wortman, Janet B.W. Williams, Thomas A. Widiger, Ellen Frank, David J. Kupfer, Sidney Zisook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

446 Scopus citations


Background: Studies suggest that symptoms of traumatic grief constitute a distinct syndrome worthy of diagnosis. Aims: A consensus conference aimed to develop and test a criteria set for traumatic grief. Method: The expert panel proposed consensus criteria for traumatic grief. Receiver operator characteristic (ROC) analyses tested the performance of the proposed criteria on 306 widowed respondents at seven months post-loss. Results: ROC analyses indicated that three of four separation distress symptoms (e.g. yearning, searching, loneliness) had to be endorsed as at least 'sometimes true' and four of the final eight traumatic distress symptoms (e.g. numbness, disbelief, distrust, anger, sense of futility about the future) had to be endorsed as at least 'mostly true' to yield a sensitivity of 0.93 and a specificity of 0.93 for a diagnosis of traumatic grief. Conclusions: Preliminary analyses suggest the consensus criteria for traumatic grief have satisfactory operating characteristics, and point to directions for further refinement of the criteria set.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-73
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue numberJAN.
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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