Grief is a family affair: Examining longitudinal associations between prolonged grief in parents and their adult children using four-wave cross-lagged panel models

Lonneke Lenferink, Maja O'Connor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
136 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Losing a parent or spouse in adulthood may results in Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD) symptoms. PGD levels in parents may affect PGD levels in their adult offspring and the other way around. However, research on transmission of PGD in parent-child dyads is lacking. Consequently, we aimed to examine temporal associations between PGD levels in parent and adult children. Methods: In doing so, we analyzed longitudinal self-report data on PGD levels (using the PG-13) assessed at 2, 11, 18, and 26 months after loss in 257 adult parent-child dyads from Denmark. Cross-lagged panel modelling was used for data-analyses. Results: Changes in PGD levels in parents significantly predicted PGD levels in adult children, but not vice versa. Small through moderate cross-lagged effects (β = .05 through .07) were found for PGD levels in parents predicting PGD levels in adult children at a subsequent time-point. These cross-lagged effects were found while taking into account the association between PGD levels in parents and adult children at the same time-point as well as the associations between the same construct over time and relevant covariates. Conclusions: Pending replication of these findings in clinical samples and younger families, our findings offer tentative support for expanding our focus in research and treatment of PGD from the individual to the family level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7428-7434
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological medicine
Volume53
Issue number15
Early online date8 May 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2023

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