Psychological distress and social support in bereavement: a nursing investigation of middle aged Newfoundland widows

Hustins, Kathryn Ann Corkery (1986) Psychological distress and social support in bereavement: a nursing investigation of middle aged Newfoundland widows. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The purpose of this investigation is to describe a sample of middle-aged -Newfoundland widows and to determine the nature of a relationship between psychological distress and social support during the first year of bereavement. The sample is 30 women aged 45-64 whose husbands had died within a seven month period. During the first year of bereavement, two interviews are conducted. -- Psychological distress is measured using the 30 item Goldberg General Health Questionnaire. A score of 5 or more is taken to indicate psychological distress. The women's psychological distress scores decrease from Interview I (x̄ 6.4) to Interview II (x̄ 2.6). Three groups of women are identified at the end of the first year of bereavement: those women r who report high psychological distress scores throughout the first year of bereavement (n = 4), those women who report low psychological distress scores throughout the first year of bereavement (n = 14), and those women who have initial high psychological distress scores which decrease to low psychological distress scores by the end of the first year of bereavement (n = 11). -- Two dimensions of social support, perceived social support network and perceived functional social support, are measured using the Norbeck Social Support Questionnaire. The scores on perceived social support network increase from Interview I (x̄ 124.27) to Interview II (x̄ 130.50). The scores on perceived functional social support also increase from Interview I (x̄ 235.90) to Interview II (x̄ 251.90). There is a positive significant between perceived social support functional social support at each statistical correlation network and perceived interview and between interviews. There is no significant statistical correlations between psychological distress and social support during the first year of bereavement. The women in the sample identify family and friends as their main sources of social support. -- The author constructed Widow Interview Guides (I and II) provides a description of the background and personal characteristics, the physical and psychological health characteristics and the social characteristics of the widow and a description of the widow's perceptions of the first year of bereavement and ·the problems and difficulties she encounters. The women in the sample state that loneliness is their most serious problem. Many of the women report difficulty with sleeping, and for some of the women this continues throughout the first year of bereavement. -- Case studies integrate some of the major findings and provide a comprehensive view of the Newfoundland widow's first year of bereavement. Recommendations for nursing practice, research and theory are presented.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10711
Item ID: 10711
Additional Information: Bibliography : leaves 194-201.
Department(s): Nursing, School of
Date: 1986
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Bereavement--Psychological aspects; Widows--Newfoundland and Labrador.

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