Grief, depressive symptoms, and physical health among recently bereaved spouses

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Publication Type pre-print
School or College College of Social & Behavioral Science
Department Sociology
Creator Utz, Rebecca L.
Other Author Caserta, Michael; Lund, Dale
Title Grief, depressive symptoms, and physical health among recently bereaved spouses
Date 2012-01-01
Description Purpose of Study: Widowhood is among the most distressing of all life events, resulting in both mental and physical health declines. This paper explores the dynamic relationship between physical health and psychological well-being among recently bereaved spouses. Design and Method: Using a sample of 328 bereaved persons who participated in the Living After Loss study, we modeled trends in physical health, somatic symptoms, and psychological well-being over the first year and a half of widowhood. The primary focus is whether physical health at the time of widowhood modifies psychological well-being over time. Results: There were considerable somatic symptoms during the earliest months of bereavement, but no major health declines over the first year and half of bereavement. Those in poor health had initially higher levels of grief and depressive symptoms, but the trajectories or changes over time were similar regardless of health status. Those with poor health at the time of widowhood had significantly higher risks of complicated grief and major depression disorder. Implications: Bereavement requires physical and emotional adjustment, but the psychological trajectory of bereavement may be somewhat universal. Bereavement support ought to include a focus on self-care and health promotion in addition to emotional support, especially since those with poor health initially may be most susceptible to prolonged and intense clinical distress.
Type Text
Publisher Gerontological Society of America
Volume 52
Issue 4
First Page 460
Last Page 471
Language eng
Bibliographic Citation Utz, R. L., Caserta, M., & Lund, D. (2012). Grief, depressive symptoms, and physical health among recently bereaved spouses. Gerontologist, 52(4), 460-71.
Rights Management This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Gerontologist, following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version, Utz, R. L., Caserta, M., & Lund, D. (2012). Grief, depressive symptoms, and physical health among recently bereaved spouses. Gerontologist, 52(4), 460-71 is available online at: http://gerontologist.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/12/07/geront.gnr110.full.pdf+html ; doi:10.1093/geront/gnr110
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 2,004,713 bytes
Identifier uspace,17673
ARK ark:/87278/s6xs94g5
Setname ir_uspace
Date Created 2014-04-11
Date Modified 2021-05-06
ID 712284
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6xs94g5
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