OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to compare grief among parents
who had an adult child with schizophrenia and parents who had "lost" an
adult child through death or a head injury that resulted in an organic
personality disorder. METHOD: Twenty-five parents from each group were
studied. Self-report scales that assessed grief, depression, anxiety, and
substance abuse were administered. RESULTS: There were significant
differences with regard to grieving reactions and substance abuse. The
parents with schizophrenic children had more ongoing grieving, and the
parents of children with head injuries had more substance abuse.
CONCLUSIONS: Parental loss of a child through schizophrenia leads to a
pattern of chronic grief.