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Psychol Med. 1994 Aug;24(3):613-24.

A prospective study of widowhood and changes in symptoms of depression in a community sample of the elderly.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8034.


This survey examines changes in depressive symptomatology (CES-D) during bereavement in 1046 elderly subjects, of whom 139 became widowed during follow-up. Depression scores increased during the first year of bereavement, but generally returned to pre-widowhood levels thereafter. However, depression scores remained elevated among young-old widows (65-74-year-olds) well after the first year of widowhood. Using cut-off scores, rates of high depressive symptoms remained somewhat elevated over baseline levels. Increases in depression scores during bereavement were not explained by socio-economic variables, health habits and health status. It is concluded that particularly young-old widows are at risk of developing chronic depressive symptomatology during bereavement that may warrant clinical attention.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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