Grief and Bereavement in People With Intellectual Disabilities

Philip C. Dodd; Suzanne Guerin


Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2009;22(5):442-446. 

In This Article


There is a growing body of research on the nature, impact, and outcomes for PWID who have been bereaved. However, the research activity is somewhat limited in that it has relied on small-scale studies, and more rigorous empirical studies are required. Nonetheless, drawing on the literature with the general population, there is support for the inclusion of prolonged grief disorder as a distinct clinical disorder in the forthcoming edition of DSM-V.[9] The possible recognition of prolonged grief disorder as a distinct clinical entity will have a significant impact on research and intervention with people with pathological or complicated grief.

Within this body of literature, however, a number of gaps exist. The development and evaluation of evidence-based therapeutic and staff-training interventions are needed to provide effective resources for PWID and the professionals who support them. In addition, no prospective study of grief and bereavement has been conducted to date among PWID. This is essential to best understand the course of grief and complicated grief in PWID including the characterization of risk factors associated with functional impairment.


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