Our new network paper “From Loss to Loneliness: The Relationship Between Bereavement and Depressive Symptoms” was published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology (PDF).
In the paper we examined 2 competing explanations concerning how spousal bereavement impacts on depression symptoms: a traditional latent variable explanation, in which loss triggers depression which then leads to symptoms; and a network explanation, in which bereavement directly affects particular depression symptoms which then activate other symptoms. We re-analyzed data from the CLOC study, a prospective cohort of 515 individuals, half of which would experienced spousal loss throughout the course of the study (the other half was queried as control group). We modeled the effect of partner loss on depressive symptoms either as an indirect effect through a latent variable, or as a direct effect in a network constructed through a causal search algorithm.
Overall, losing a partner impacted on very specific depression symptoms (e.g., feeling lonely and sad mood), but not on others (e.g., sleep problems). The effect of partner loss on these symptoms was not mediated by a latent variable. The network model indicated that bereavement mainly affected loneliness, which in turn activated other depressive symptoms. The findings support a growing body of literature showing that specific adverse life events differentially affect depressive symptomatology [1-3], and suggest that future studies should examine interventions that directly target such symptoms
» Fried, E. I., Bockting, C., Arjadi, R., Borsboom, D., Tuerlinckx, F., Cramer, A., Epskamp, S., Amshoff, M., Carr, D., & Stroebe, M. (2015). From Loss to Loneliness: The Relationship Between Bereavement and Depressive Symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Keller, M. C., Neale, M. C., & Kendler, K. S. (2007). Association of different adverse life events with distinct patterns of depressive symptoms. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 164(10), 1521–9. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2007.06091564
 Cramer, A. O. J., Borsboom, D., Aggen, S. H., & Kendler, K. S. (2013). The pathoplasticity of dysphoric episodes: differential impact of stressful life events on the pattern of depressive symptom inter-correlations. Psychological Medicine, 42(5), 957–65. doi:10.1017/S003329171100211X
 Fried, E. I., Nesse, R. M., Guille, C., & Sen, S. (2015). The differential influence of life stress on individual symptoms of depression. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, (6), 1–7. doi:10.1111/acps.12395