The Masking of Mourning: Social Disconnection After Bereavement and Its Role in Psychological Distress.
Smith KV., Wild J., Ehlers A.
Social support has been shown to facilitate adaptation after bereavement in some studies but not others. A felt sense of social disconnection may act as a barrier to the utilization of social support, perhaps explaining these discrepancies. Factorial and psychometric validity of the Oxford Grief-Social Disconnection Scale (OG-SD) was tested in a bereaved sample (N = 676). A three-factor solution (negative interpretation of others' reactions to grief expression, altered social self, and safety in solitude) fit the data best and demonstrated excellent psychometric validity. A second three-wave longitudinal sample (N = 275) recruited 0 to 6 months following loss and followed up 6 and 12 months later completed measures of prolonged grief disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and the OG-SD at each time point. High levels of baseline social disconnection were associated with concurrently high psychological distress. The extent to which social disconnection declined over time predicted resolution of psychological distress.