Boelen, P. A., & Prigerson, H. G. (2012). Commentary to the inclusion of Persistent Complex Bereavement-Related Disorder in DSM-5. Death Studies,36, 771-794.


The DSM-5 Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum, Posttraumatic, and Dissociative Disorders Work Group has proposed criteria for Persistent Complex Bereavement-Related Disorder (PCBRD) for inclusion in the appendix of DSM-5. We, the present authors, feel that it is important that dysfunctional grief will become a formal condition in DSM-5 because that would facilitate research and would imply recognition of the suffering of a significant minority of bereaved individuals who experience difficulties in their process of recovery from loss. However, as detailed in this commentary, we oppose the inclusion of the proposed criteria-set for PCBRD for several reasons, including the fact that these criteria lack empirical evidence. In our view, it is better to include empirically validated criteria for Prolonged Grief Disorder in DSM-5, possibly expanded with a few symptom-criteria that are tapped by the Inventory of Complicated Grief, the most widely used instrument to measure dysfunctional grief.