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Unresolved grief and its consequences: A nationwide follow-up of teenage loss of a parent to cancer 6-9 years earlier
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Health and Caring Sciences. Karolinska Institutet.
Lund University.
Karolinska Institutet.
Karolinska Institutet ; The Sahlgrens Academy.
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2016 (English)In: Supportive Care in Cancer, ISSN 0941-4355, E-ISSN 1433-7339, Vol. 24, no 7, p. 3095-3103Article in journal (Refereed) Published
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Abstract [en]

PurposeThe early loss of a parent is a tragedy and a serious life event. This study investigated grief resolution and morbidity in cancer-bereaved teenagers 6 to 9 years after the loss of a parent to cancer.

MethodsIn a nationwide population-based study of 622 of 851 (73 %) youths who as teenagers 6 to 9 years earlier had lost a parent to cancer, we explored the magnitude of unresolved grief and its association with psychological and physiological morbidity. Participants answered a study-specific anonymous questionnaire including questions about if they had worked through their grief and about their current health. Results Six to nine years post-loss 49 % reported unresolved grief (8 % no and 41 % a little grief resolution). They had, in comparison with youths reporting resolved grief. statistically significantly elevated risks, e.g. for insomnia (sons' relative risk (RR) 2.3, 95 % CI 1.3-4.0; daughters' RR 1.7, 95 % CI 1.1-2.7), fatigue (sons' RR 1.8, 95 % CI 1.3-2.5; daughters' RR 1.4, 95 % CI 1.1-1.7) and moderate to severe depression, i.e. score >9, PHQ-9 (sons' RR 3.6, 95 % CI 1.4-8.8; daughters' RR 1.8, 95 % CI 1.1-3.1). Associations remained for insomnia in sons, exhaustion in daughters and fatigue in both sons and daughters when depression, negative intrusive thoughts and avoiding reminders of the parents' disease or death were included in a model. Conclusions Approximately half of cancer-bereaved youth report no or little grief resolution 6 to 9 years post-loss, which is associated with fatigue, sleeping problems and depressive symptoms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 24, no 7, p. 3095-3103
Keywords [en]
Grief, Bereavement, Adolescents, Young adults, Cancer, Depression, Insomnia
National Category
Nursing
Research subject
Health and Caring Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-54679DOI: 10.1007/s00520-016-3118-1ISI: 000376678400033PubMedID: 26899858Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84958811749OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-54679DiVA, id: diva2:949736
Available from: 2016-07-22 Created: 2016-07-21 Last updated: 2017-11-28Bibliographically approved

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Bylund Grenklo, Tove

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