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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
E-pub ahead of print

Bereavement among adult siblings: An examination of health service utilization and mental health outcomes

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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We aimed to examine the association of young and middle-aged sibling bereavement with use of health services and risk of developing mental health disorders over 24 months before and after sibling's death. All persons aged 18-56 years who died of illness/natural causes between 2009 and 2016 were identified in the Danish Register of Causes of Death. The study sample included 31,842 bereaved siblings and 31,842 age- and sex-matched controls. Overall, the largest effect was observed for increased use of psychological services: For women, the peak was observed 4-6 months after the death (odds ratio (OR) = 3.31, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.85, 3.85) and for men in the first 3 months after the death (OR = 2.63, 95% CI: 2.06, 3.36). The peak of being diagnosed in a hospital setting with any mental disorder for women was observed in the period 13-15 months after sibling death (OR = 1.52, 95% CI: 1.11, 2.07) and for men in the first 3 months after the death (OR = 1.75, 95% CI: 1.32, 2.32). Young and middle-aged adults who experienced the death of a sibling are more likely to use health services and are at risk of poorer mental health outcomes. During the bereavement process, young and middle-aged siblings are especially in need of mental health support, such as professional psychological counseling.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
ISSN0002-9262
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Aug 2021

ID: 67449197