October 1977

Bereavement and Psychiatric Hospitalization

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of California at San Diego School of Medicine (Dr Frost), and the Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis (Dr Clayton).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1977;34(10):1172-1175. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1977.01770220054005

• Two hundred forty-nine psychiatric inpatients were compared with 249 matched controls and with a psychiatric hospital survey group of 95 patients for incidence of recent bereavement. There were no significant differences between the groups for loss of a first-degree relative in six months and one year prior to admission. There was a preponderance of affective disorder among the psychiatric patients with recent loss. Severe subjective grief reactions were found in the four patients who had lost a spouse or a child and in some patients who had lost a parent, while loss of a sibling usually evoked a mild reaction. Patients with alcoholism tended to increase their drinking during the bereavement period, resulting in incapacitation and hospitalization or, in the case of a control patient, in severe trauma.