The role of hardiness and self-actualization level in bereavement outcome for widows



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The death of a spouse is a very traumatic event in anyone's life. The process of grieving for a lost love object is considered a universal human phenomenon. It has been implicated in a wide range of physiological and psychological disorders. Normal grief takes time to resolve. It progresses through stages from shock or numbness, to intense affect, followed by acceptance and resolution. There are a number of personal and situational factors felt to influence whether grief progresses normally or pathologically. However, little attention has been paid to personality and its role in resolving grief. An unanswered question exists as to what personality characteristics might be important in predicting resolution of grief in women who have lost a spouse. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of personality in resolution of grief in widows, and its interaction with certain selected situational variables (i.e., mode of death--expected vs. unexpected) and the time since the death. Suzanne Kobasa (1979) has posited the existence of a personality factor called hardiness that serves as a buffer between stress and illness. Hardy people feel committed to the activities of their lives, feel they can control or influence the events of their experience, and see change as an exciting challenge to further development. Her description of hardiness sounds similar to that of Maslow's self-actualization or healthy personality. It would seem that those high in hardiness and self-actualization level would resolve their grief more quickly and with fewer adverse symptoms, regardless of circumstances. [...]



Widows--Psychology, Bereavement--Psychological aspects