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Effects on life satisfaction of older adults after child and spouse bereavement
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
2017 (English)In: Aging & Mental Health, ISSN 1360-7863, E-ISSN 1364-6915, Vol. 21, no 6, 602-608 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Few studies have compared the impact of different familial losses on life satisfaction (LS). Furthermore, there is a lack of research on the effect of having lost both a child and a spouse among older adults. Sample: A random sample of 1402 individuals, 817 women and 585 men, aged 60–96 years from the Blekinge part of the Swedish National Study of Aging and Care (SNAC-B) participated in this cross-sectional study. Aims: The first aim was to compare the effects of child or spouse or both child and spouse bereavement on LS and, the second aim, to investigate if there were gender differences within the bereaved groups. Results: The results showed that having lost a child, spouse or both child and spouse had a negative association with LS, although this effect was small. Having experienced multiple losses did not predict more variance than a single child or spouse loss. Gender differences were found within all the bereaved groups with bereaved men having lower LS than bereaved women. Longer time since the loss was associated with higher LS. Conclusions: Bereaved older adults have somewhat lower LS than non-bereaved and bereaved men seem more affected than bereaved women. Future research needs to address older men´s experiences after the loss of a loved one.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2017. Vol. 21, no 6, 602-608 p.
Keyword [en]
Child and spouse bereavement, life satisfaction, older age
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Social Sciences, Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-51482DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2015.1135874ISI: 000400171200004PubMedID: 26768164OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-51482DiVA: diva2:915004
Available from: 2016-03-28 Created: 2016-03-28 Last updated: 2017-05-24Bibliographically 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. 96 p.
Series
Linnaeus University Dissertations, 250/2016
Keyword
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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