Ratings of physical and mental health in the older bereaved

Authors

  • Barbara G. Valanis,

    1. Nursing in the College of Nursing and Health at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Rosalee Yeaworth is Professor of Nursing and Dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, Nebraska.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Rosalee Yeaworth

    1. Nursing in the College of Nursing and Health at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Rosalee Yeaworth is Professor of Nursing and Dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, Nebraska.
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Subjective and objective ratings of mental and physical health were compared, using data from a larger study of older bereaved persons. Variation by age, race, and sex of subjects also was investigated. Sixty widowed individuals, aged 58–83, whose spouses died within the previous three months were identified through death certificates. Subjects were interviewed in their homes using a modification of the Older Americans' Resources and Services, Multidimensional Functional Assessment Questionnaire (OARS), which provides objective and subjective ratings of mental and physical health. The Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale was used to quantify intensity of depression. Subjective ratings of physical health are primarily positive and significantly better than the objective ratings, particularly for women. In general, subjective and objective ratings of mental health do not differ. Interviewer ratings of physical health show significant variation by age of subjects rated. Findings are discussed in terms of reference group comparisons and of implications for design and interpretation of morbidity studies of widowed.

Ancillary