ERIC Number: ED243014
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982
Reference Count: 0
The Role of Social Support in the First Year of Bereavement in an Elderly Sample.
Dimond, Margaret; And Others
As part of a longitudinal study of bereavement among the elderly in Salt Lake City, a conceptual model was developed that suggests that age, sex, socioeconomic status and number of years married will influence the bereaved individuals' perception of the stressfulness of the spouse's death and their ability to cope with it. To describe the role of social support in an elderly sample during the first year of bereavement using the model, 192 adults (mean age, 67.5; mean years married, 39.6) were interviewed or completed questionnaires assessing life satisfaction, depression, perceived health, coping, stress, and social support. Data were collected at 3 and 8 weeks and at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. Analysis of results for the first year post-bereavement showed that both the structure and the quality of social support networks played a significant role in the first year. At 3 weeks of bereavement, sex (females), age (older persons), and years married (greater number) correlated significantly with social support. Coping correlated with feelings of closeness and the quality of network interactions. At 1 year of bereavement, the size of the social support network was positively related to perceived coping, and the density of the network was inversely related to health. Opportunity to express feelings, perceived closeness, and quality of interaction significantly related to higher life satisfaction, better coping ability, better reported health, and lower depression. Coping and depression levels at 3 weeks of bereavement were the strongest predictors of later coping abilities and depression levels. (BL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. on Aging (DHHS/NIH), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A