ERIC Number: ED250609
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Presence of a Confidant and Adaptation in Widowhood.
Thomas, L. Eugene; DiGiulio, Robert C.
Although the literature links the presence of a confidant with successful adaptation to loss, and widowhood with a blurring of personal identity, the relationship between these two areas has seldom been explored. To examine the relationship between the presence of a confidant and adaptation in widowhood, 70 women from northeastern Connecticut who were presently widowed and had not remarried nor were engaged to be remarried were interviewed. (Additional respondents from widows' groups in the state brought the sample to 83). Widows' ages ranged from 22 to 74, with an average age of 48.3. Average age at the time of death of spouse was 44.3. Interview items were both structured and open-ended questions. The Total Positive Score (POS) of the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale, and an Adaptation Index, based on responses to the open-ended questions, were used for data analysis. Length of duration of the confidant relationship and sex of the confidant were examined. Overall, the results indicated that the presence of a confidant helps buffer women against the loss of a spouse. Contrary to expectations, women who had developed a new confidant since their husband's death were higher in adaptation than those who had confidants of long acquaintance. Further, male confidants served as more potent enhancers of widows' adaptation. The findings suggest that the relationship between intimacy and identity (from Erikson's theory of personality development) may be related to identity stability in widowhood. (LLL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (92nd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 24-28, 1984).