Prigerson et al developed consensus criteria for traumatic grief. These can help identify a person who has excessive grief related to the loss of a person and who may benefit from an intervention. The authors are from Yale University and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in West Haven, Connecticut.



(1) The person has experienced the death (or loss) of a significant "other".

(2) Certain symptoms (see below) are present.

(3) The person's clinical response lasts at least 2 months (8 weeks).

(4) The person has significant impairment in functioning (social, occupational, other).



• The authors state that the duration of 2 months was chosen to allow for early intervention in an affected patient. Although a longer period might be more specific, it would mean that the person would need to suffer more.


Symptoms - both of the following:

(1) >= 3 out of 4 "A" symptoms described as occurring sometimes or more often

(2) >= 4 out of 8 "B" symptoms described as mostly true


"A" symptoms:

(1) intrusive thoughts about the deceased person

(2) yearning for the deceased person

(3) searching for the deceased person

(4) loneliness because of the person's death


"B" symptoms related to the person's death:

(1) feelings of futility or purposelessness about the future

(2) feeling numb, detached, and/or emotionally unresponsive

(3) difficulty in acknowledging the death (feelings of disbelief)

(4) feeling that life is meaningless or empty

(5) feeling that part of self has died

(6) loss of feelings for control, security and/or trust (shattering of world view)

(7) takes on symptoms or harmful behaviors associated with the deceased person

(8) excessive irritability, anger and/or bitterness


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