ERIC Number: ED214098
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Significant Other Relationships: Their Location and Importance for the Older Widow.
Gibbs, Jeanne M.
Research has indicated that times of great personal loss are usually eased by the presence of a close individual. Widowhood research, however, has shown a lack or brevity of close social support for the widow. The frequency and quality of the significant other relationships of older widows were explored after the initial period of grief and bereavement. Personal, in-depth interviews were conducted with 40 women, widowed at least one year, and from one to three of their significant others residing in the same community. Widows (N=20) lived in a small town and 20 lived in a rural community. A comparison of results from the two communities indicated that the widow's social world in the town tended to be built around friends, while the rural widow's social world tended to be more family-oriented. The widows only identified other women as their significant others although they were given the opportunity to name either men or women, including family members. The findings suggest that greater feelings of emotional closeness and social contact occur between the widow and her significant other after widowhood. The results also reaffirm the importance of non-family significant others in the widow's efforts at social adaptation to a new role. (Author/NRB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. on Aging (DHEW/PHS), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: Institute for Community Studies, Kansas City, MO. Midwest Council for Social Research in Aging.
Identifiers: Significant Other
Note: Paper presented at the Joint Annual Meeting of the Scientific Gerontological Society (34th) and the Scientific & Educational Canadian Association on Gerontology (10th), (Toronto, Ontario, Canada, November 8-12, 1981).