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Journal Article

Survivorship and Social Isolation: The Case of the Aged Widower

Felix M. Berardo
The Family Coordinator
Vol. 19, No. 1 (Jan., 1970), pp. 11-25
DOI: 10.2307/582141
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/582141
Page Count: 15
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Survivorship and Social Isolation: The Case of the Aged Widower
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Abstract

The transition from agrarian to urban-industrial American society was accompanied by the emergence of a conception of the aged which stressed involuntary structural isolation from relatives and friends. While evidence has accumulated which seriously questions this early conception, findings from research literature presented in the present paper suggest that it is applicable to the aged widower. The evidence indicates that the aged male survivor experiences a different impact from spousal loss than his female counterpart and that he encounters severe difficulties in adapting to the single status. Adjustment problems are especially compounded by the los of his occupational role, which abruptly removes him from meaningful contact with friends and co-workers. Social isolation among aged widowers leads to a precarious condition which is reflected in unusually high rates of mental disorders, suicides, and mortality risk.

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