This study examines the process of identity reconstruction in young widowhood. Participants were widows between the ages of 20-39 who had been widowed for at least six months. The qualitative research design includes an interview protocol using open-ended questions. The theoretical foundations of the study include three bodies of identity development and bereavement research, including: Erickson's (1964, et al.) lifespan development theory, Gilligan's (1982) theory of women's identity development, constructivist and narrative methodology articulated by Neimeyer (2002; 2005) and research on a new model of bereavement by Hagman (2001). Additionally, theories and research on young widowhood and identity tasks were also used. Research questions focused on the widow's identity before and after the death of her husband, her internal assumptions about the world before and after the death, strategies for meaning reconstruction, identity development challenges faced, and ideas about what else might have helped them adjust. The results of this study are expected to yield useful information for mental health professionals working with young widows.
|Commitee:||Culbertson, Roberta, Evans, William, Johnston, Nancy, Marotta, Sylvia, Megivern, Monica, Weiss, Gail|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 69/08, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Womens studies, Academic guidance counseling, Psychotherapy|
|Keywords:||Identity, Widows, Young widowhood|
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