Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD) is a new disorder included in ICD-11 (WHO, 2018). There is a growing body of literature surrounding the prevalence and correlates of ICD-11 PGD symptoms as assessed using various measures. This study was the first to assess levels of ICD-11 PGD symptoms as measured by the International Prolonged Grief Disorder Scale (IPGDS), a self-report scale directly aligned with the ICD-11 definition of PGD, among the United Kingdom adult general population, and identify correlates.
Participants included 2025 adults who participated in Wave 5 of the COVID-19 Psychological Research Consortium Study (C19PRC-UK). Prevalence rates of PGD were estimated based on two commonly used algorithms defined as ‘strict’ and ‘moderate’. Sociodemographic, loss-related, and mental health correlates (i.e., anxiety, depression, mental health treatment seeking, loneliness) of strict and moderate PGD were then examined using multinomial logistic regressions.
It was found that 2.4% (n = 43) of participants met probable caseness for PGD using the strict criteria while 7.9% (n = 140) met probable caseness for PGD using the moderate criteria. Multinomial logistic regression analysis results showed, as predicted, that income, time since bereavement, death of a child, religiosity, and depression were associated with both moderate and strict PGD. Correlates of moderate PGD included country of residence, urbanicity, younger age of bereaved, and loneliness.
This study highlights that some symptoms of PGD are commonly reported in the general population, although relatively few meet the criteria for clinical significance. The routine assessment for PGD following a bereavement is discussed and the development of appropriate interventions are recommended.