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Exploring the Most Important Negative Life Events in Older Adults Bereaved of Child, Spouse, or Both
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Psychology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4179-771X
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Psychology. Blekinge Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6532-3877
2018 (English)In: Omega, ISSN 0030-2228, E-ISSN 1541-3764, Vol. 76, no 3, p. 227-236Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Losing a child or a spouse is described as the worst of experiences. However, it is not known whether older adults bereaved of a child, spouse, or both child and spouse experience these losses as among the most important negative events in their life- time. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the 1,437 older adults bereaved of a child, spouse, or both included in the southern part of the Swedish National Study of Aging and Care mentioned these losses when asked about their three most important negative life events. Gender differences in their choices of important negative life events were also explored. About 70% of those bereaved of a child or a spouse mentioned these losses as among their three most important negative life experiences. In the child-and-spouse-bereaved group, 48% mentioned both the loss of their child and spouse, while 40% mentioned either the loss of a child or a spouse. Gender differences were only found in the child-and-spouse-bereaved group, with a few more women mentioning the loss of the child but not the spouse, and the men showing the opposite pattern. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2018. Vol. 76, no 3, p. 227-236
Keywords [en]
negative life events, child and spouse loss, bereavement, older adults
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Social Sciences, Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-52677DOI: 10.1177/0030222816642453ISI: 000418863000002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85039459209OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-52677DiVA, id: diva2:931205
Available from: 2016-05-26 Created: 2016-05-26 Last updated: 2019-08-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Surviving the loss of a child, a spouse, or both: Implications on life satisfaction and mortality in older ages
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Surviving the loss of a child, a spouse, or both: Implications on life satisfaction and mortality in older ages
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Losing a loved one – a child or a spouse –is described as one of the most stressful or negative experience of a person’s life. Aging is associated with a higher risk of the death of close family members, yet few studies have investigated the impact of such losses on different health outcomes either by type of loss or by the combined loss of both a child and a spouse. This thesis is based on three studies examining the effect of bereavement on the health of older adults who have lost a child, spouse, or both and whether the different losses were associated with Life Satisfaction (LS) or mortality. The sample was collected from the Swedish National Study of Aging and Care (SNAC).

The results showed that the loss of a child, spouse or both was experienced as among the three most important negative life events in the bereaved groups. About 70% of those bereaved of a child or a spouse mentioned these losses as among their three most important negative life experiences. In the child-and-spouse-bereaved group, 48% mentioned both losses while 40% mentioned only the loss of a child or a spouse, but not both. However, only marginally effects on LS and mortality after child, spouse or child-spouse bereavement in older adults was found. Longer time since the loss was associated with higher LS and lower mortality risk, and type of loss did not seem to determine LS or mortality. Gender differences were found: child-, spouse and child-and-spouse-bereaved men had lower LS than the corresponding groups of bereaved women, and furthermore, child-bereaved men had an increased mortality risk compared to child-bereaved women. Finally, significantly more women in the child-and-spouse-bereaved group compared to the men in this group, mentioned the loss of their child but not the spouse, among the three most important negative life events.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Växjö: Linnaeus University Press, 2016. p. 96
Series
Linnaeus University Dissertations ; 250/2016
Keywords
negative life events, child and spouse loss, bereavement, older adults
National Category
Applied Psychology
Research subject
Social Sciences, Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-52215 (URN)978-91-88357-16-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-05-20, Wicksell, Hus K, Växjö, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-04-27 Created: 2016-04-25 Last updated: 2017-02-16Bibliographically approved

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Bratt, Anna S.Stenström, UlfRennemark, Mikael

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