With this K-award, Luz Garcini, PhD, MPH aims to address a gap in the literature by understanding how bereavement increases cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, including detecting relevant ethnic disparities and identifying protective factors during this difficult life transition. The proposed training and mentoring plan will supplement Dr. Garcini’s expertise in health disparities and community-based research with a foundation in CVD and psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) at premiere academic and medical institutions under the mentorship of renowned experts.
This research will use data from a longitudinal study among 96 recently (<3 months) bereaved adults (50% Latino, 50% Non-Latino White) with CVD risk assessments (i.e., glucocorticoid (GC) resistance and inflammation) done at baseline, 6, and 12 months post enrollment. Survey measures of relevant mediators and moderators will take place at each time point, with a qualitative interview done after the last visit. Project Aims include:
- Aim 1: To assess ethnic differences (Latinos, non-Latino Whites) in the association between grief symptoms and CVD risk (GC resistance and inflammation) among bereaved adults cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Hypothesis 1. The strength of the association between grief symptoms and CVD risk will be relatively stronger among Latinos compared to Non-Latino Whites.
- Aim 2: To identify contextual and cultural factors that facilitate coping with bereavement among Latinos and non-Latino Whites.
The proposed research will provide novel information about mechanisms and predictors that underlie CVD risk in a vulnerable population about which little is known, while also identifying protective factors that foster resilience. The longitudinal design will provide valuable information to identify critical time points for intervention.
Project Period: March 2020 – February 2025
PI: Luz Garcini, PhD, MPH