An Overview Of Complicated Grief Terminology And Diagnostic Criteria

Document Type

Journal Article


Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement (previously Centre for Grief Education)


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Nursing, Midwifery and Postgraduate Medicine, WA Centre for Cancer and Palliative Care




This article was originally published as : Lobb, E. A., Kristjanson, L. J., Aoun, S., & Monterosso, L. (2006). An overview of complicated grief terminology and diagnostic criteria. Grief Matters: The Australian Journal of Grief and Bereavement, 9(2), 28. Originally article available here


This article sets the scene for the current debate on the concept of complicated grief. Issues identified with diagnosis of individuals with complicated grief include concerns about misuse of the term, distinctions between normal and complicated grief and fears regarding stigmatisation associated with potential DSM-V classification of complicated grief. Use of the term as described by Prigerson and colleagues reflects current best evidence, addresses concerns related to definitional error and would assist in progressing research and clinical practice in a more consistent manner if this were used by clinicians, researchers, health policy makers and educators. Such progress will be further assisted when consensus on the diagnostic criteria for complicated grief is achieved.