Prolonged Grief Disorder and Depression in Widows due to the Rwandan Genocide


Schaal, Susanne, Thomas Elbert, and Frank Neuner. 2009. “Prolonged Grief Disorder and Depression in Widows due to the Rwandan Genocide.” Omega 59 (3): 203–19.

Authors: Susanne Schaal, Thomas Elbert, Frank Neuner


Should pathological grief be viewed as a nosological category, separate from other forms of mental diseases? Diagnostic criteria for "Prolonged Grief Disorder" (PGD) have recently been specified by Prigerson and her coworkers. We interviewed a total of 40 widows who had lost their husbands during the Rwandan genocide in 1994. We assessed Major Depression using the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.) and prolonged grief reactions with the PG-13. In order to examine the distinctiveness of the two syndromes we performed a multitrait correlational matrix analysis using modified versions of Generalized Proximity Functions (GPFs). 12.5% (n = 5) of the sample fulfilled the criteria for a diagnosis of PGD; 40% (n = 16) met criteria for Major Depressive Episode. The two syndromes were strongly associated. No discriminant validity was found between the two constructs suggesting that PGD may rather be an appearance of depression than a separate nosological entity.

Topics: Gender, Women, Genocide, Health, Mental Health, Trauma Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2009

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