Urinary free cortisol and separation anxiety early in the course of bereavement and threatened loss

Biol Psychiatry. 1987 Feb;22(2):148-52. doi: 10.1016/0006-3223(87)90225-3.


Among 56 persons who were acutely bereaved or threatened with a loss, a group with worsening separation anxiety over a period of a month early after the event had higher urinary free cortisol output than a group experiencing improvement in grief. Although not tested in this study, both these psychological and physiological measures may have potential for serving as early predictors of poor outcome in bereavement for the 15%-20% of exposed persons who are at risk for unresolved grief or persistent depressive syndromes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex / physiopathology
  • Anxiety, Separation / physiopathology
  • Anxiety, Separation / urine*
  • Depressive Disorder / physiopathology
  • Depressive Disorder / urine
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Grief*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / urine*
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiopathology


  • Hydrocortisone