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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

Gender differences in adjustment to bereavement: An empirical and theoretical review.

Author: Stroebe, Margaret
Author Background: Utrecht U, Dept of Psychology, Research Inst for Psychology and Health, Utrecht, Netherlands
Date 3/2001
Type Journal
Journal Title: Review-of-General-Psychology
Volume/Pages Vol 5(1): 62-83
Subject Matter Gender, Coping Behavior; Grief; Health; Human Sex Differences; Social Support Networks, Death and Dying; Widows
Abstract The loss of a marital partner results in substantial increases in morbidity and mortality among both men and women, but the effects are relatively greater for widowers than for widows in the acute grieving period. Evidence is reviewed, and explanations of the pattern are examined. An interpretation in terms of gender differences in social support (M. Stroebe & W. Stroebe, 1983), although plausible, has not yet been empirically confirmed. Likewise, with respect to gender differences in coping styles, women are more confrontive and expressive of their emotions than men, but there has been little validation of the generally accepted grief work hypothesis (working through grief by women brings about their better recovery). Cognitive processes underlying effective coping with bereavement are analyzed, and a stressor-specific framework, the dual process model of coping with loss, is suggested to help explain gender differences in health outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2000 APA, all rights reserved)(journal abstract)