Relationship satisfaction determines the association between Epstein–Barr virus latency and somatic symptoms after the loss of a spouse

Angie S. LeRoy, Whitney E. Petit, Ryan L. Brown, Kyle W. Murdock, Luz M. Garcini, Raymond P. Stowe, Chris P. Fagundes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The loss of a spouse is associated with a host of negative health outcomes. While bereaved individuals commonly report somatic symptoms, no investigations exist of the association between reactivation of latent Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) and somatic symptoms among this population. Further, how an individual perceives the quality of their lost relationship in retrospect may impact loss outcomes. Among 99 bereaved spouses, elevated EBV antibody titers were associated with somatic symptoms for those who retrospectively reported high or mean levels of relationship satisfaction (RS), but not among those less satisfied. Further, higher RS was associated with greater grief symptoms. This study identifies higher retrospective RS as a possible risk factor for negative physical and mental health outcomes during bereavement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)652-673
Number of pages22
JournalPersonal Relationships
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Epstein–Barr virus
  • bereavement
  • relationship satisfaction
  • somatic symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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