Bereavement is a major life event that has been associated with a range of negative health outcomes. To assess whether levels of inflammation markers and cortisol vary significantly by bereavement status and/or number of recent bereavements. The study was based on a secondary analysis of data from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) II biomarkers project. After excluding participants suffering from conditions which directly affect immune functions, 529 participants were included (age 34-84 years), of whom 260 experienced the death of a person close to them 5-63months prior to assessment. Levels of interleukin 6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP), soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-I), Soluble E-selectin (sE-selectin) and cortisol were examined controlling for demographic and health characteristics. Bereaved respondents had higher levels of inflammatory biomarkers IL-6 and sE-selectin, but not CRP and sICAM-I than the non-bereaved. Number of recent bereavements significantly predicted levels of IL-6 in the unadjusted and adjusted regression models. Body Mass Index (BMI) and number of chronic conditions partially mediated the association between number of bereavements and IL-6 levels. Number of recent bereavements is associated with higher levels of inflammation, particularly among individuals with higher BMI and/or chronic health problems.
- C-reactive protein
- interleukin 6
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health