Mary-Frances O'Connor

Professor, Clinical

Research Interests: 

  • Grief, loss and social stress research
  • Using methods of psychoneuroimmunology, neuroimaging, autonomic physiology, and virtual reality.
  • Particular interest in collective grief in the American Black/Latinx community, and bereavement as a health disparity.

Updated: 07/05/22

Selected Publications: 

  • O’Connor, M.-F., Wellisch, D.K., Stanton, A.L., Eisenberger, N.I., Irwin, M.R.,  Lieberman, M.D. (2008).  Craving love? Complicated grief activates brain’s reward center. NeuroImage, 42,  969-972. PMC2553561.
  • O’Connor, M.-F., Bower, J., Cho, H.J., Creswell, J.D., Hoyt, M.A., Martin, J.L., Robles, T., Sloan, E., Thomas, K.S., Irwin, M.  (2009). To assess, to control, to exclude: effects of biobehavioral factors on circulating inflammatory markers. Brain, Behavior and Immunity, 23, 887-897. PMC2749909.
  • Shear, M.K., Duan, N., Reynolds, C., Simon, N., Zisook, S., Lebowitz, B., Sung, S., Guesquierre, A., Gorscak, B., Clayton, P., Ito, M., Nakajima, S., Konishi, T., Brent, D., Melhem, N., Meert, K., Schiff, M., Neimeyer, R., O’Connor, M.-F., First, M., Sareen, J., Bolton, J., Skritskaya, N., Mancini, A. (2011). Complicated Grief and related bereavement issues for DSM-5. Depression and Anxiety, 28, 103–117.
  • Kaplan, D.M., Palitsky, R., Carey, A.L., Crane, T.E., Havens, C.M., Medrano, M.R., Reznik, S.J., Sbarra, D.A., & O’Connor, M.F. (2018). Maladaptive repetitive thought as a transdiagnostic phenomenon and treatment target: An integrative review. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1126-1136.
  • Fallon, M., Serrano Careaga, J., Sbarra, D., O’Connor, M-F. (2016). The utility of a virtual Trier Social Stress Test: Initial findings and benchmarking comparisons. Psychosomatic Medicine, 78(7), 835-840. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000338.

Courses Taught: 

  • PSY 383 - Health Psychology (2016)
  • PSY 456 - Psychology of Death and Loss (2021) - for undergraduates
  • PSY 485/585 - Psychoneuroimmunology (2020) - combined undergraduate/graduate course
  • PSYC 582 - Advanced Psychopathology (2024) - for graduate students
  • PSY 696C - Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior (2022)

*Year listed indicates when this individual last taught the specified course.

Updated: 05/10/24


  • B.A. Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (1992-1996)
  • Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona (1998-2004)
  • Clinical Internship, Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital University of California, Los Angeles, California (2003-2004)
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship, UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology University of California, Los Angeles, California (2004-2007)