bereavement, family, intensive care unit, longitudinal studies, psychological adaptation, race factors



  1. La, In Seo MSN, RN
  2. Scharf, Barbara PhD, RN
  3. Zhu, Shijun DrE
  4. Mooney-Doyle, Kim PhD, RN
  5. Friedmann, Erika PhD
  6. Wiegand, Debra L. PhD, RN


Limited longitudinal studies have hindered the understanding of family adaptation after loss of a loved one in an intensive care unit (ICU). Based on the Double ABCX Model, this study examined changes in adaptation to bereavement for family members in the first year after the ICU death, with special attention to the effects of race/ethnicity. A repeated-measures design was used to conduct the investigation using 3 time points (1-3, 6, and 12 months) after the ICU death. Data were analyzed using linear mixed modeling. Family members (n = 30) consisted of 60% non-Hispanic Whites and 40% African Americans (AAs). During the first 1 to 3 months, moderate to severe symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and stress were found (60%, 40%, 30%, and 26.7%, respectively). Initially, non-Hispanic Whites had higher depression scores than African Americans. The change in depression and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms over 1 year differed by race/ethnicity. Many family members tended to be at risk of psychological sequelae in the early months after a patient's death in an ICU. Racial/ethnic differences in bereavement process need further exploration to understand the broader context within family members grieve and effectively offer support over the course of the first year.