Cross-national analysis of the prevalence of prolonged grief disorder

H Comtesse, GE Smid, AM Rummel, P Spreeuwenberg, M Lundorff, MLA Dückers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Prolonged grief disorder (PGD) is now included as a diagnosis in international classification systems. Most research on PGD is based on Western populations, but first data from non-Western countries have recently become available. Little is still known about country-related effects on PGD's prevalence. Objective: Determining possible causes of variations in the prevalence of PGD as defined by DSM-5-TR and ICD-11 within and between countries. Methods: We retrieved data from 24 prevalence studies, the World Bank and the 2022 World Risk Report. Negative binomial regressions were used to explore methodological, loss-related and country context characteristics as predictors of PGD. The average rate of PGD was calculated using random effects models. Results: The included studies comprised 34 samples from 16 countries (20,347 participants). Non-probability sampling and older mean age of the sample as well as lower country vulnerability were associated with higher PGD rates. The average PGD prevalence was 13 % (95 % CI [11, 22]), varying from 5 % (95 % CI [3, 11]) in probability to 16 % (95 % CI [13, 25]) in non-probability samples. Limitations: Samples from Europe and North America were overrepresented. For about half of the countries, data were available from only one sample. Conclusions: While confirming the importance of studies' methodological quality, the results show that PGD is of public health relevance around the world, but especially common in less vulnerabled countries with better access to daily necessities and healthcare services, highlighting sociocultural impacts on grief processing. Further investigations of cross-national differences are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-365
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • Cross-national comparison
  • Prevalence
  • Prolonged grief disorder
  • Vulnerability

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