Rice researcher studies why bereavement can be fatal

Monday, October 26, 2015

HOUSTON -- Often times when a spouse dies, the deceased person's husband or wife dies shortly after. A researcher at Rice University will spend the next five years determining exactly why.

Christopher Fagundes, an assistant professor of psychology, has received a $3.765M grant from the National Institute of Health to find the link between psychological and physiological responses to stress.

"I've always been interested in how people deal with stressful life events, especially events surrounded by loss," said Fagundes, who came to Rice after a stint at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. "We know that loss is one of those triggers for major depressive disorder and, in the case of the loss of spouse, early mortality."

According to Rice, 160 participants who have recently lost a loved one will be studied over five years to determine who the stress affects them physically.

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