Van Denderen, M., Keijser, J. de, Huisman, M. & Boelen, P. A. (in press). Prevalence and correlates of self-rated Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Complicated Grief in a community-based sample of homicidally-bereaved individuals. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.
People confronted with homicidal loss have to cope with separation distress, related to their loss, and traumatic distress, associated with the circumstances surrounding the death. These reactions are related to complicated grief (CG) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The psychological effects for people who have lost someone through homicide, in terms of PTSD and CG, are largely unclear. This cross-sectional study (a) examined the prevalence of self-rated PTSD and self-rated CG in a community-based sample of 312 spouses, family members, and friends of homicide victims and (b) aimed to identify socio-demographic, loss-related, and perpetrator-related correlates of PTSD and CG. Participants were recruited via support organizations for homicidally bereaved individuals in the Netherlands (i.e., support group), and by casemanagers of a governmental organization, which offers practical, non-psychological, support to bereaved families (i.e., casemanager group). Prevalence of self-rated PTSD was 30.9% (support group) and 37.5% (casemanager group), prevalence of CG was 82.7% (support group) and 80.6% (casemanager group). PTSD and CG severity scores varied as a function of the relationship with the victim; parents were at greater risk to develop emotional problems, compared with other relatives of the victim. Time since loss was negatively associated with PTSD and CG scores.