Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Master of Science in Family Sciences (MSFS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Family Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Amy Hosier

Abstract

Death is a universal event that all living things experience. Older adults, in particular, are more mindful of death than younger generations because of their proximity and increased exposure to it. In addition, thoughts of one’s own death often increase with the death of a spouse. Previous research has explored the role of social support in death acceptance and the effect of previous marital satisfaction on a widow’s well-being. However, there is a lack of research regarding the experience of a widow’s personal death acceptance relative to spousal death acceptance and marital satisfaction. This phenomenological study aims to better understand the personal death acceptance of eight older widows (age 65+) through their experiences with marital satisfaction and spousal death acceptance. Seven women and one man participated in two rounds of semi-structured telephone interviews and completed supplemental surveys regarding their marriage and death attitudes. Findings indicate that essential dimensions of recalled high marital satisfaction and spousal death acceptance relates to experiences of positive personal death acceptance.

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