Distinguishing Between Depression and Grief in Alcoholism: A Pilot Clinical Study

Thomas F. McGovern, Arlin V. Peterson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Scopus citations


    Clinical research has described alcoholism in its relationship to primary, secondary and withdrawal depression. Current Findings have indicated that the depressive symptomatology experienced by primary alcoholics decreased significantly as a response to detoxification and treatment. A pilot study was undertaken to compare post detoxification measures (pretest) of depression, loss/grief with like measures on the completion of a 28 day treatment program (posttest). The Beck Depression Scale (BDS). the Loss Identification Measure (LIM) and the Grief Awareness Measure (GAM) were used to measure change. The depression scores decreased significantly (p <.0001); the loss identification score increased significantly (p <.01); a significant measure of grief, present at the beginning of treatment, declined somewhat with treatment (p <.05). A tentative conclusion suggested that a distinction could be made between depression and a loss/grief reaction in an inpatient alcoholic population.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)31-45
    Number of pages15
    JournalAlcoholism Treatment Quarterly
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 1986


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