Family factors that affect the resolution of grief in older persons
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This research study was conducted to identify family factors that affect the resolution of grief in widows and widowers 60 years and older. An intergenerational approach was used, and special focus was given to the differences between men and women, and between younger subjects, age 60 to 74, and older ones, 75 and over. David Olson's Circumplex Model of Families, Faces III Inventories, provided the framework for this study.;Family factors included: cohesion in family relationships with surviving siblings and children, adaptability, cohesion and dependency in the marital relationship, relationships with grandchildren, ability to talk to children, siblings and "others" about the loss, and the existence of a confidant. Socio-demographic factors and factors related to the death were also looked at. Resolution of grief scores and depression scores were the dependent variables.;The subjects were 60 men and women between the ages of 60 and 88 who had been widowed between one and six years. Fifty per cent of the subjects had been married over 40 years.;Variables that predicted increased difficulty in resolution of grief were: couple scores that were high in either cohesion, adaptability, or dependency.;A profile was developed of the widowed person who had less difficulty in dealing with the resolution of grief: one who showed moderate ability to talk to his or her children about the loss, coupled with great ability to talk to or confide in an "other", defined as someone not a first degree relative.;Women had the highest depression scores, and when subjects were grouped by age and sex, the women in the younger age group, 60 to 74, had the highest scores in both difficulty in grief resolution and depression. Women over 74 had the second highest depression scores. Men over 74 had grief scores very close to the younger women, but their depression scores were quite low. Men in the 60 to 74 range had moderate unresolved grief scores and moderate depression scores. This study clearly showed the differences among each age and gender group.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 55-11, Section: A, page: 3646.