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Depression Research and Treatment
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 739804, 6 pages
Research Article

Sleep Difficulties Are Correlated with Emotional Problems following Loss and Residual Symptoms of Effective Prolonged Grief Disorder Treatment

1Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80140, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands
2Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Weesperplein, 41018 XA Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Received 16 April 2013; Revised 19 June 2013; Accepted 21 June 2013

Academic Editor: Wai Kwong Tang

Copyright © 2013 Paul A. Boelen and Jaap Lancee. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


There is preliminary evidence that poor sleep quality is associated with emotional problems following loss, including symptoms of prolonged grief disorder (PGD) and depression. We conducted two studies to improve existing knowledge about the role of sleep difficulties in recovery from loss. Study 1 that relied on self-reported data from a heterogeneous sample of 177 bereaved individuals replicated prior findings of a linkage between increased sleep difficulties and increased PGD severity. This study also suggested that sleep difficulties are more strongly associated with depression than with PGD. In Study 2, we examined whether prior evidence that sleep complaints are a residual symptom of PGD treatment could be replicated in a sample of 43 bereaved individuals who underwent cognitive behavioural therapy for PGD. Outcomes showed that, although sleep difficulties declined significantly during this cognitive behavioural therapy, after this therapy, over half of all patients still had sleep difficulties above the average sleep difficulties observed in the general Dutch population.