It's a whole new world : self-esteem and widowhood in older women in a retirement community
Archibald, Krystle Balhan
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Vacha-Haase, TammiWith estimates of nearly 50% of all women over age 65 becoming widows, the transition into widowhood is an expected life event for older women (Bradsher, 2001; Hanson & Hayslip, 2000). Nonetheless, widowhood is often an extremely disruptive life event for women, involving loss in many life domains including status, social connections, psychological well-being, and self-esteem (Carr, 2004; Carr, Nesse, & Wortman, 2006; Chamber, 2005). The current interpretive phenomenological study explored widows' lived experiences in relation to their self-esteem after the loss of their spouses. Thirteen women from a retirement community in Arizona were interviewed. A core theme of multiple identity construction emerged from their narratives. Other important subthemes arose from the data including "the widowhood experience," "relationships," "self-esteem definitions and sources," and "independence."