Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Public Health



First Advisor

Dr. Joy M. Jacobs-Lawson

Second Advisor

Dr. Mitzi Schumacher


Widowhood is a stressful life event that can impact an individual’s everyday life, including her decision making abilities. The complexity of the decision is also likely to influence the decision making abilities of these widows. The purpose of this dissertation was to better understand widows’ decision making processes, their preferences for collaboration when making decisions, and their satisfaction with the decision outcomes. Data analysis consisted of a series of 3 (widowed status) x 2 (task complexity) ANOVAS and ANCOVAS which found that both complexity and widowed status influence decision making processes. Higher complexity led to less overall satisfaction, but none of the other satisfaction variables yielded significant results. In addition, there were no significant findings with regard to preferences for collaboration. Multiple linear regressions were conducted to better understand individual difference variables on decision processing. Restoration orientation coping, loss orientation coping, and task complexity were found to be significant for decision processing and satisfaction measures. Future studies should aim to develop decision aids for this particular population so that they are able to make better decisions.