The time course of grief reactions to spousal loss: evidence from a national probability sample

Carnelley, Katherine B., Wortman, Camille B., Bolger, Niall and Burke, Christopher T. (2006) The time course of grief reactions to spousal loss: evidence from a national probability sample. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91, (3), 476-492. (doi:10.1037/0022-3514.91.3.476).


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Most studies of widowhood have focused on reactions during the first few years postloss. The authors investigated whether widowhood had more enduring effects using a nationally representative U.S. sample. Participants were 768 individuals who had lost their spouse (from a few months to 64 years) prior to data collection. Results indicated that the widowed continued to talk, think, and feel emotions about their lost spouse decades later. Twenty years postloss, the widowed thought about their spouse once every week or 2 and had a conversation about their spouse once a month on average. About 12.6 years postloss, the widowed reported feeling upset between sometimes and rarely when they thought about their spouse. These findings add to an understanding of the time course of grief.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1037/0022-3514.91.3.476
ISSNs: 0022-3514 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: bereavement, widowhood, continuing bonds, meaning, positive growth
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Psychology > Division of Human Wellbeing
ePrint ID: 40379
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:11

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