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Journal Review on Aging

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Carr, Deborah. Gender, Preloss Marital Dependence, and

Older Adults' Adjustment to Widowhood. Journal of

Marriage and Family 66 (February 2004): 220-235.

The purpose of this study examines how marital dependence can affect positive adjustment to late-life loss. Self-esteem and perceived personal growth, are two aspects of positive adjustment to widowhood that were examined in the study. How does marital dependence affect personal growth among the recently bereaved? And do the effects observed vary by gender?

The data used for the study was collected by The Changing Lives of Older Couples study. The sample size included 297 males and females who had recently been widowed. The data was collected through one-on-one interviews with respondents.

It was concluded that higher marital dependence is positively correlated with higher self-esteem after being widowed. It was also concluded that widowed respondents experienced more personal growth after the death of their spouse. In addition the findings illustrate that these feelings aren't as dependent on gender as previously thought.

I think that the biggest assumption the author had when beginning the research was that coping with widowhood depended mainly on ones gender.

Throughout the research it became evident that the author wanted to abolish this paradigm. The author believes that it is much more vital to look at the diversity within each gender.

The research concludes that dealing with the loss of a spouse is positively correlated to the marriage itself. Through the research it became evident that both men and women have higher feelings of self worth after a spousal death. This may be due to the satisfaction of knowing that they can survive and take care of themselves. These increased feelings of autonomy and self worth do not depend on the type of relationship observed or gender.

Throughout the research the author used a life course theoretical perspective. This perspective was maintained throughout the research. This theory is very useful in dissecting the article.

I believe that future researchers will find this article to be a great starting point. It may



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