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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2012 May;37(5):725-8. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2011.08.009. Epub 2011 Sep 16.

Diurnal cortisol in Complicated and Non-Complicated Grief: slope differences across the day.

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  • 1Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Los Angeles, CA, United States.


Although grief has been described primarily as a psychological phenomenon, empirical evidence reveals that grief also has physiological correlates that have consequences for health. The present study investigates the diurnal cortisol production patterns in women who have been bereaved in the past 18 months. Specifically, the study compares women with Complicated Grief (n=12) from those with Non-Complicated Grief (n=12), testing whether cortisol slope distinguishes the two groups. Results demonstrate that the two groups do not differ on demographic variables (except education), but as hypothesized, those with Complicated Grief have a flatter slope across the day, controlling for education and body mass index.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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