Scientific article

The death of a loved one: impact on health and relationship in very old age

Published inOmega, vol. 47, no. 3, p. 265-284
Publication date2003

The death of a significant other is seen as a major life disruption. What are the consequences when such a loss occurs during advanced old age? Based on observation of an octogenarian cohort over a period of five years (1994-1999), this study investigates the impact of losing a significant other (close relative or friend) on the health of elders and on their family and social life. The bereaved are compared with two control groups: one declaring no significant change in their life and the other reporting a loss unrelated to bereavement. Results show that the death of a significant other has no impact on the measures of functional and physical health, nor is it a factor of isolation. However, the loss of a close relative is associated with more depressive symptoms while that of a relative or friend is related to the survivor's feeling of loneliness.

  • Dépression
  • Famille
  • Grande vieillesse
  • Mort
  • Proche
  • Santé
  • Swilsoo
Citation (ISO format)
LALIVE D’EPINAY, Christian, CAVALLI, Stefano, SPINI, Dario. The death of a loved one: impact on health and relationship in very old age. In: Omega, 2003, vol. 47, n° 3, p. 265–284.
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
  • PID : unige:1569
ISSN of the journal0030-2228

Technical informations

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