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Psychological response to later life widowhood: coping and the effects of gender

Bennett, K.M., Hughes, G.M. and Smith, P.T. (2005) Psychological response to later life widowhood: coping and the effects of gender. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying , 51 (1). pp. 33-52. ISSN 0030-2228

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The study examined the effects of psychological response and gender on coping with late life widowhood. Forty-six men and 46 women (55 years +) were interviewed about their experiences of widowhood. Participants were classified as to whether they were coping well or less well. Data were analyzed using grounded theory, content. analysis, and three-way loglinear analyses. Loglinear analyses revealed three-way interactions for Gender, Coping, and Response. Men who report feeling upset or selfish are more likely to be coping, as are women who report being comfortable alone. There were two-way interactions between Coping and Response and Gender and Response. Participants who talk to their dead spouse are more Rely to be coping than those who do not. Those who "keep themselves to themselves" are more likely not to be coping than those who do not. Gender differences, were found in psychological response. Differences were also found between those who coped and those who coped less well. The study has enabled the synthesis of quantitative and qualitative data to present a more complete view of late life widowhood than has previously been possible. In addition, the article draws attention to the importance of distinguishing between the effects of bereavement and those of widowhood.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences
ID Code:14154

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