The Underlying Structure of Grief: A Taxometric Investigation of Prolonged and Normal Reactions to Loss
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- Holland, J.M., Neimeyer, R.A., Boelen, P.A. et al. J Psychopathol Behav Assess (2009) 31: 190. doi:10.1007/s10862-008-9113-1
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Recent studies have supported the distinctiveness of complicated and prolonged forms of grief as a cluster of symptoms that is separate from other psychiatric disorders. The distinction between prolonged and normal reactions to loss remains unclear, however, with some believing that prolonged grief represents a qualitatively distinct clinical entity and others conceptualizing it as the extreme end of a continuum. Thus, in this study a taxometric methodology was used to examine the underlying structure of grief. Participants included 1,069 bereaved individuals who had lost a first-degree relative. Each participant completed the Dutch version of the Inventory of Complicated Grief–Revised, which was used to create indicators of prolonged grief. The mean above and mean below a cut (MAMBAC) and maximum eigenvalue (MAXEIG) tests supported a dimensional conceptualization, indicating that pathological reactions might be best defined by the severity of grief symptoms rather than the presence or absence of specific symptoms.