Date of Award:

2016

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Megan Oka

Abstract

Young widowhood is a unique experience that has received little in-depth attention in research and clinical settings. Their experiences may differ from other types of losses, particularly from losses that are typically expected to happen later in life. The present study treated the lived experiences of young men and women who have experiences the loss of a spouse. Eleven men and women between the ages of 18 and 49 were interviewed about their experiences post-loss using phenomenological methods. After coding for similarities and differences between the experiences, five themes emerged in all eleven interviews: (1) relationship, (2) first reactions, (3) resources, (4) concerns, and (5) age and gender. The results explored these themes in depth and provided insight into the grief process of young widows and widowers. Implications included the need for more accessible resources for young widowed individuals, such as therapeutic services, finances, and childcare. Implications are also provided for clinicians, individuals, couples, and families.

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