TitleDaily emotional and physical reactivity to stressors among widowed and married older adults.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsHahn, EA, Cichy, KE, Small, BJ, Almeida, DM
JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Date Published2014 Jan
KeywordsActivities of Daily Living, Affect, Aged, Emotions, Female, Humans, Life Change Events, Male, Marital Status, Marriage, Psychological Tests, Stress, Psychological, Widowhood

<p><b>OBJECTIVES: </b>Widowhood may result in declines in health and potentially stressful changes to daily routines. However, little research has examined how daily stressors contribute to physical and emotional well-being in widowhood. The objectives of the current study were to examine daily stressor exposure and reactivity in widowed versus married older adults.</p><p><b>METHOD: </b>Participants included all 100 widowed and 342 married adults aged 65 and older from the National Study of Daily Experiences, a daily diary study from the second wave of the Midlife in the United States. Daily stressors were measured using the Daily Inventory of Stressful Events; multilevel modeling assessed daily reactivity to stressors using daily negative affect (emotional reactivity) and daily physical symptoms (physical reactivity) as outcomes.</p><p><b>RESULTS: </b>Married participants reported more stressors in general, and specifically more interpersonal stressors (e.g., arguments). Both married and widowed participants were reactive to daily stressors. Married participants were physically and emotionally reactive to interpersonal stressors. Widowed participants were more physically reactive to home-related stressors.</p><p><b>DISCUSSION: </b>Attention to the types of daily stressors that widowed older adults experience in daily life and the potential physical effects of daily stressors during widowhood may help to alleviate some of the physical distress that widowed older adults may experience.</p>

Alternate JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
PubMed ID23685921
PubMed Central IDPMC3894129
Grant ListP01 AG020166 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
P01 AG0210166-02 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R01 AG19239 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States