Grieving Parents May Die Sooner: Study

Parents who lose infant at greater risk of early death themselves
By Luke Kelly-Clyne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2011 7:21 AM CDT
A parent's grief may take a serious physical toll, a new study suggests.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A new study suggests that parents who lose a child in the first year are more likely to die early themselves, reports the BBC. Researchers at York and Stirling universities found that such moms and dads are four times more likely to die within a decade. It's not clear why exactly—the bereavement itself may take a heavy physical toll, or it's possible that parents who have unhealthy babies are unhealthy themselves—and the researchers say their small sample warrants a larger investigation.

"The stress of bereavement may involve significant physiological effects—for example suppressing the immune system thereby increasing one's propensity to disease," the researchers write.

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