ERIC Number: ED214033
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Widowhood Fantasies: Incidence, Characteristics, and Potential Function.
Bear, Roberta Meyer; Flowers, Barbara P.
Although some people fantasize about their spouse's possible death, the literature contains no reports of research on widowhood fantasies. The incidence, characteristics, and possible function of these fantasies were examined in individual interviews with 28 divorced and married men and women. Interview data were analyzed by calculating chi-square values to determine the degree of relationship between each of three variables (gender, marital status, dominance in marital decisions) and each of three aspects of widowhood fantasies (frequency, content, timing). All three aspects of fantasies were significantly related to gender; frequency was significantly related to dominance in marital decisions. Women reported more regular incidence of widowhood fantasies than men. Most women imagined death by accident or natural causes, and almost all reported occurrence after arguments or when contemplating divorce. Men's responses were approximately equally distributed among frequency categories. Most men imagined their spouse's death by murder or suicide; five men reported never thinking about their wife's death. The response patterns suggest that widowhood fantasies serve as a coping device for marital dissatisfaction primarily for women, but also for dominated men. (Author/NRB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Governors State Univ., Park Forest South, IL.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (89th, Los Angeles, CA, August 24-26, 1981).