Boelen, P. A. (2011). Personal goals and prolonged grief disorder symptoms among bereaved people. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 18, 439-444.


Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD, previously called Complicated Grief) is a debilitating condition that can develop following the loss of a loved one. The present study investigated the relationship between different features of personal goals of bereaved individuals and PGD symptom severity. To this end, 160 bereaved people were asked to write down seven important personal goals and to complete self-report measures of PGD and depression symptom severity. With respect to the form of goals, findings showed that more severe PGD symptomatology was associated with lower specificity of goals, reduced sense of control over achieving goals, and a lower perceived likelihood of achieving goals. With respect to the content of goals, it was found that mourners with more severe levels of PGD symptoms reported more goals that were associated with the loss (compared to goals unrelated to the loss), more goals related to feeling states, and less goals related to work/education and close relationships. Implications of these findings are discussed.