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Abstract

This prospective, comparative study investigated variables in 60 recently widowed older men and women at three to four months and nine to 10 months after bereavement and compared them with an age-matched of nonbereaved. Major sections of the Duke University Older Americans' Resources and Services multidimensional functional assessment questionnaire were used to measure physical and mental health and social and economic resources. The Zung self-rating depression. scale (ZSDS) was used to evaluate the amount of depression. Subjects' scores were compared at Times 1 and 2 with scores of the comparison group. The bereaved were most impaired on physical health and economic resources: 18 percent were classified as moderately to severely depressed by the ZSDS and at both Times 1 and 2 they had significantly poorer scores than nonbereaved on all variables except social resources. For both groups, social and economic resources correlated highly with physical and mental health. Only for nonbereaved did age show a relationship to physical health and depression. Further research should focus on specific components of social resources and on evaluating interventions to reestablish social networks and mobilize social resources.