S-Space College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학) Institute for Social Development and Policy Research (사회발전연구소) Development and Society Development and Society Vol.45 No.1/3 (2016)
Will the Pain of Losing a Husband Last Forever? The Effect of Transition to Widowhood on Mental Health
- Issue Date
- Institute for Social Development and Policy Research, Center for Social Sciences, Seoul National University
- Development and Society, Vol.45 No.1, pp. 165-187
- Guided by the marital resource model and the crisis model, we investigated the effect of continuity and changes in marital status on the mental health of Korean elderly women, particularly focusing on the transition to widowhood. We also examined whether and the extent to which such impact is explained by economic resources and social environment. By using data from the 2008 and 2011 Survey of Living Conditions and Welfare Needs of Korean Older Persons (N=5,704), we compared the depression scores across three groups: continually married, continually widowed, and recently widowed. The result indicates that, compared to others, those experiencing a recent bereavement are more likely to have higher levels of depression. This finding provides a strong ground for the crisis model. In addition, economic resources and social environment alleviate some of the negative impact of the transition to widowhood on mental health.