Background: Sociologists, anthropologists, and psychologists
agree that grief is a universal phenomenon. Reactions to it are, however,
socially constructed and patterned.
Objective: To compare the outcomes of bereavement among
family or close friends of deceased first-generation black Caribbean and
white native-born patients living in the United Kingdom.
Design: Comparative cross-sectional questionnaire survey in
three inner London health authorities administered 10 months after the
Participants: Family and close friends of 50 deceased
first-generation black Caribbean and 50 native-born white patients with
Main outcome measures: 28-item General Health Questionnaire
(GHQ-28), Core Bereavement Items scale, a 17-item measure of grief.
Results: The intensity of grief, measured using the Core
Bereavement Items was similar between the two groups. Seventy-two
respondents had visited their family doctor subsequent to bereavement, and
of these, black Caribbean respondents reported more psychological
problems. Depression and anxiety measured by the GHQ-28 were significantly
higher among black Caribbean respondents (28.00 vs. 21.2) (t-test
= −2.28, p = 0.025). Multiple regression analysis revealed
this difference was best accounted for by bereavement concerns such as
legal and housing problems.
Conclusions: This study has observed higher psychological
morbidity among the bereaved Caribbean individuals. Family doctors are a
source of support for three-quarters of respondents, and they may need to
focus on the needs of black and minority ethnic minorities.