A Review of Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives on Marital Satisfaction and Bereavement Outcomes: Implications for Working with Older Adults


Journal Article (Review)

The later years of one's life can contain many losses, perhaps none as prominent as the loss of one's spouse. Bereavement can be a life-changing loss, but the nature of that change can range from despair and depression to personal growth and resiliency. One factor that can play a role in bereavement outcomes is the quality of the lost relationship. It does not appear that the relationship between marital satisfaction and bereavement outcomes is as clear-cut as poor relationships leading to poor outcomes or vice-versa, however. Rather, multiple factors related to relationship dynamics, attachment style, and dependency may influence bereavement trajectories. In addition, marital satisfaction may interact with other factors including pre-loss psychological health and personality characteristics to influence outcomes. Similar factors may also influence the bereaved individual's post-loss assessment of the relationship, leading to idealization of the lost spouse and making clini vement and/or the need for intervention. © 2012 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Itzhar-Nabarro, Z; Smoski, MJ

Published Date

  • May 1, 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 35 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 257 - 269

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1545-2301

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0731-7115

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/07317115.2012.657604

Citation Source

  • Scopus