Boelen, P. A., Keijsers, L., & Hout, M. A. van den (2012). The role of self-concept clarity in Prolonged Grief Disorder. Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, 200, 56-62.
Three studies using independent samples of bereaved individuals were conducted to examine the association of self-concept clarity (SCC) with symptoms of Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD)-a debilitating syndrome than can develop after bereavement. Study 1 (N = 67) showed that lower SCC was associated with greater PGD severity, independent from self-concept content change. Using a retrospective design, Study 2 (N = 116) showed that a loss can coincide with a decline in SCC, the magnitude of which was associated with acute PGD severity. Study 2 also showed that the maintenance of PGD symptoms over time was associated with a smaller increase in SCC beyond the first month of bereavement and not with this acute SCC-decline. Using a prospective-longitudinal design, Study 3 (N = 121) showed that the impact of lower SCC on concurrent and prospective PGD severity was mediated by lower self-esteem, depressive avoidance, and rumination. Moreover, lower initial SCC predicted PGD severity six months later.