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Widowhood, Health, and Friendship Support in Later Life

Kenneth F. Ferraro, Elizabeth Mutran and Charles M. Barresi
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 25, No. 3 (Sep., 1984), pp. 246-259
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2136423
Page Count: 14
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Widowhood, Health, and Friendship Support in Later Life
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Abstract

Widowhood has been widely recognized as one of the most stressful events in the life course of married persons. This study utilizes panel data from a national sample of the low-income aged to examine the effect of this form of role loss on the health and friendship support of older people. The use of a structural equation model reveals that those recently widowed negatively changed the evaluation of their health to a greater extent than those widowed for longer periods of time. The analysis of change in friendship support among the respondents indicates that those widowed between one and four years are more likely to increase their involvement in friendship than people widowed between measurements or those widowed more than four years. A multi-group LISREL analysis of the married and widowed respondents is used to examine if the causal processes affecting health and friendship support differ for married and widowed older adults. The findings emphasize the importance of considering the temporal dynamics of adjustment to stressful life events and favor a compensation model of role loss and social integration.

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