ERIC Number: ED305530
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Depression and Bereavement in the Elderly.
Gilewski, Michael J.; And Others
Bereavement and depression are two clinical problems which are prevalent in elderly persons and which may coincide in older adults. This study was conducted to examine how depression interacts with bereavement status. Data were obtained from 393 adults over the age of 55 who participated at four times of measurement (within 1 month of their spouse's death, and at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years after their spouse's death) in a study of adaptation to bereavement in the elderly. Subjects were divided into groups based on their bereavement status (spouse survivors of natural deaths, suicides, and non-bereaved controls) and level of depression as measured by the Beck Depression Inventory at Time 1. The results indicated that bereavement status and initial level of depression clearly interacted in successful adaptation to the bereavement process. The elderly survivors of suicide who had moderate to severe depression were the most depressed of any group initially and had the most complications with bereavement over all. Across time, their symptoms decreased in the first 6 months, but relapsed, and sometimes to greater than the initial level, at year 2. The findings suggest that elderly persons with significant clinical depression at the time of a spouse's death are at significant risk for psychological complications during the bereavement process, and that elderly survivors of a spouse's suicide are even more at risk within this depressed group. (Author/NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society (41st, San Francisco, CA, November 18-22, 1988).