Brief Report|Articles in Press

Prevalence, Correlates, and Psychiatric Burden of Prolonged Grief Disorder in U.S. Military Veterans: Results From a Nationally Representative Study

Published:February 13, 2023DOI:


      • What is the primary question addressed by this study?
        This study examined the population-based prevalence and correlates of prolonged grief disorder (PGD) in U.S. veterans.
      • What is the main finding of this study?
        In this nationally representative study of 2,441 veterans, 158 (weighted 7.3%) screened positive for PGD. Adverse childhood experiences, female sex, non-natural causes of death, knowing someone who died from coronavirus disease 2019, and number of losses were strongly associated with PGD. Veterans with PGD were significantly more likely to screen positive for posttraumatic stress, major depressive, and generalized anxiety disorders; endorse suicidal thoughts and attempts; and utilize mental health treatment.
      • What is the meaning of the finding?
        PGD is prevalent in veterans, and associated with increased psychiatric burden and suicide risk.



      To examine the point prevalence and correlates of prolonged grief disorder (PGD) in a nationally-representative sample of United States (U.S.) veterans.


      Data were analyzed from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study, a nationally representative study of 2,441 U.S. veterans.


      A total of 158 (weighted 7.3%) veterans screened positive for PGD. The strongest correlates of PGD were adverse childhood experiences, female sex, non-natural causes of death, knowing someone who died from coronavirus disease 2019, and number of close losses. After adjusting for sociodemographic, military, and trauma variables, veterans with PGD were 5-to-9 times more likely to screen positive for post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. After additional adjustment for current psychiatric and substance use disorders, they were 2–3 times more likely to endorse suicidal thoughts and behaviors.


      Results underscore the importance of targeting PGD as an independent risk factor for psychiatric disorders and suicide risk.

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