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Keywords:

  • emotional states/feelings;
  • grief/mourning

Abstract

In this cross-sectional descriptive survey of 173 widows, we describe their grief symptoms using an open-ended questionnaire and the Revised Grief Experience Inventory. Self-reported physical symptoms included pain, gastro-intestinal problems, medical/surgical conditions, sleep disturbances, and neurological/circulatory issues. Psychological symptoms were reported as depression, anxiety, and loneliness. The mean total grief score was 71.4 ± 30.2 (possible range 22–132). Physical symptoms were significantly correlated with the total mean grief score, and subscales of physical distress, depression, existential tension, and guilt. When the subjects were grouped by years since loss, (range 1–5 years), there was no significant decrease found in overall grief scores, suggesting symptoms of grief experienced by widows may continue up to at least 5 years. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 31:23–30, 2008