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Bereavement increases death risk

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Bereavement increases the risk of mortality from a range of causes including suicide, according to a Danish study.

The review of 16 relevant studies found mortality was higher among the recently bereaved. One study found widowers were 3.3 times more likely to commit suicide than married men.

Another suggested mortality was 17% higher in widowers than the rest of population over a five-year period. It was 6% higher in widows, the review authors said.

‘The increased risk will probably be associated with alcohol consumption and the loss of their sole confidante,’ they added.

Lancet (2007) 370: 1960-1963

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