Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Death of Parent Associated with Separation Anxiety, Conduct Disorder

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Death of Parent Associated with Separation Anxiety, Conduct Disorder

Article excerpt

HONOLULU -- Children who experience bereavement, especially the loss of a parent, are significantly more likely to exhibit symptoms of separation anxiety and conduct disorder than those who have not experienced such a loss, a large longitudinal study shows.

In addition, bereavement is associated with a great risk of developing substance abuse problems, Julie B. Kaplow, Ph.D., and her colleagues wrote for a poster presentation at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

The data came from the Great Smoky Mountains Study of Youth, a longitudinal study of a representative sample of children from 11 counties in western North Carolina. Children were aged 9, 11, and 13 years at the time of enrollment, and investigators interviewed them annually for 14 years using the Life Events and Psychiatric Disorders sections of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment.

For the purposes of the bereavement study, the investigators compared 172 children who had lost a parent (biological, foster/adoptive, or other parental figure), 815 who had lost a relative other than a parent (grand-parent, aunt, or uncle), and 235 who had experienced no loss.

Investigators focused on the interview during which the loss was reported, as well as the interviews immediately before and after the index interview, wrote Dr. Kaplow, of the department of psychology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

There were some baseline differences among the groups. Children in the parent-bereaved group were significantly more likely to live in poverty (42% vs. 22% in the other-bereaved group and 23% in the nonbe-reaved group). …

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