The relationship between optimism and grief symptom fluctuations examined with ecological momentary assessment
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Introduction: The current study sought to examine the relationship between optimism and the prolonged grief disorder, by examining to what extend optimism relates to fluctuations in daily life of grief symptoms “avoidance” and “difficulty moving on”, and to what extend optimism relates to symptoms levels of the prolonged grief disorder. Methods: An experience sampling method study was conducted. Bereaved people underwent a clinical interview after which they answered grief-related questions for two weeks, five times a day, on the Ethica app. Results: The results indicated that participants with higher trait optimism showed less fluctuations in grief symptoms “avoidance” and “difficulty moving on” of the prolonged grief disorder according to the DSM- 5-TR. Furthermore, the results showed that there was a negative correlation between optimism and overall symptom level of the prolonged grief disorder. Conclusion: The results of the current study could have important clinical implications for enhancing our understanding of mechanisms of distress following loss and the potential usefulness of optimism in treatment of the prolonged grief disorder.