even deleterious, at least for persons experiencing a normal bereavement" (p. 541). This negative characterization has little or no empirical grounding, however. The claim rests on 2 pieces of evidence. The 1st is an unorthodox analysis of deterioration effects in 10 outcome studies in B. V. Fortner's (1999) dissertation, usually attributed to Neimeyer (2000). Neither the analysis nor Fortner's findings have ever been published or subjected to peer review, until now. This review shows that there is no statistical or empirical basis for claims about deterioration effects in grief counseling. The 2nd piece of evidence involves what the authors believe to be ill-informed summaries of conventional meta-analytic findings. This misrepresentation of empirical findings has damaged the reputation of grief counseling in the field and in the popular media and offers lessons for both researchers and research consumers interested in the relationship between science and practice in psychology.
Neimeyer, R. A. (2000). Death Studies, 24(6), 541-558.
A comprehensive quantitative review of published randomized controlled outcome studies of grief counseling and therapy suggests that such interventions are typically ineffective, and perhaps even deleterious, at least for persons experiencing a normal bereavement. On the other hand, there is some evidence that grief therapy is more beneficial and safer for those who have been traumatically bereaved. Beginning with this sobering appraisal, this article considers the findings of C. G. Davis, C. B. Wortman, D. R. Lehman, and R. C. Silver (this issue) and their implications for a meaning reconstruction approach to grief therapy, arguing that an expanded conception of meaning is necessary to provide a stronger basis for clinical intervention.
van Emmerik, A. A. P., Kamphuis, J. H., Hulsbosch, A. M. & Emmelkamp, P. M. G. (2002). The Lancet, 360(9335), 766-771.
Aimed to assess the efficacy of single session debriefing (critical incident stress debriefing; CISD) in prevention of chronic symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and other disorders after trauma. In a meta-analysis, the authors selected appropriate studies from databases (Medline Advanced, PsychINFO, and PubMed), the Journal of Traumatic Stress, and reference lists of articles and book chapters. Inclusion criteria were that single session debriefing had been done within 1 mo after trauma, symptoms were assessed with widely accepted clinical outcome measures, and data from psychological assessments that had been done before (pretest data) and after (post-test data) interventions and were essential for calculation of effect sizes had been reported. The authors included 7 studies in final analyses, in which there were 5 interventions, and 6 no-intervention controls. Non-CISD interventions and no intervention improved symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, but CISD did not improve symptoms. CISD did not improve natural recovery from other trauma-related disorders. The authors conclude that CISD and non-CISD interventions do not improve natural recovery from psychological trauma.
Everly Jr., G. S. & Boyle, S. H. (1999). International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, 1(3). 165-168.
Psychological debriefings represent a genre of group crisis interventions. CISD represents the oldest standardized variation of this genre. Recent reviews have called into question the effectiveness of CISD. In this study, 5 previously published investigations were meta-analyzed, revealing a large effect size (Cohen's d = .86) supporting the notion that the CISD model of