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Title:The role of leisure in the bereavement process of later-life widows
Author(s):Ashton-Shaeffer, Candance
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Kelly, John R.
Department / Program:Leisure Studies
Discipline:Leisure Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Women's Studies
Abstract:Three out of every four married women in the United States will be widowed. For the majority of married women, widowhood will occur before the age of 64 and last about 20 years. Little, however, is known about the role of leisure in the transition from wife to widow, or the role of leisure in the adjustment to bereavement. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to explore the role of leisure in the bereavement process. Specifically, this study explores the various meanings, functions, and styles of leisure experiences during the bereavement process of later-life widows and their relationship to adjustment, role-identity, and personal development.
A qualitative research design was employed in order to learn more about the lives and bereavement process of later-life widows. This study examined the above mentioned issues through individual, face-to-face, semi-structured interviews and two standardized instruments, the Grief Experience Inventory and the Life Satisfaction Index-Z. The informants were 11 European-American and 5 African-American widows who were over the age of 60 and had been widowed between 12 and 24 months.
Two typologies of adjustment to widowhood emerged from the data--normative adjustment and problematic adjustment. The results of this study indicate that the widows who experienced normative adjustments to bereavement (a) entered widowhood with a strong social support network of family or friends, and socialized frequently with them during bereavement, (b) were involved in service-related leisure activities prior to and throughout bereavement, (c) were less likely to be husband-focused in their leisure prior to bereavement, (d) maintained a high degree of continuity with their leisure activities and experiences through the bereavement process, and (e) participated in developmental leisure pursuits during the transition phase of bereavement. These factors were not found in the problematic adjustment typology.
The results of this study also indicate that (a) leisure plays a different role in the grief phase of bereavement than it does in the transition phase in facilitating adjustment, (b) social leisure plays a role (albeit minor) in the creation of the new role-identity as widow, (c) participation in developmental leisure pursuits facilitate personal growth and development in later-life widowhood, and (d) leisure in the bereavement process is affected by the degree of dependency the widow had on her husband for experiencing leisure, maintaining her health, and participating in regular, committed social leisure with family or friends.
Issue Date:1995
Rights Information:Copyright 1995 Ashton-Shaeffer, Candance
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9543517
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9543517

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