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Letters to the Editor
Nov 2012

Epidemiologic Evidence Concerning the Bereavement Exclusion in Major Depression

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Society, Human Development, and Health (Dr Gilman) and Epidemiology (Drs Gilman, Murphy, and Smoller), Harvard School of Public Health, and Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital (Drs Gilman, Trinh, Fava, Murphy, and Smoller), Boston; and RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California (Dr Breslau).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2012;69(11):1179-1181. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2012.383

There has been considerable debate over the validity of the bereavement exclusion in the diagnosis of major depressive episode (MDE) and much controversy about whether the bereavement exclusion should be maintained in DSM-5. Mojtabai investigated the issue using data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions and concluded that the bereavement exclusion should be maintained in DSM-5.1 We analyzed the same data and came to a different conclusion.2 Herein, we discuss why we think our 2 studies arrived at different conclusions and their implications for revising the diagnostic criteria.

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