The British Journal of Psychiatry


A group of randomly selected widows and widowers were followed prospectively for one year after the deaths of their spouses. Symptoms of those whose spouses had short illnesses were examined and compared to the symptoms of those whose spouses had long illnesses. It was found that the duration of illness was unrelated to the prevalence of symptoms in the widows and widowers. Those who had suffered anticipatory grief were compared to those who had not; it was found that those with anticipatory grief felt worse at one month of bereavement and at one year were no better and no worse than those without such a reaction.