bereavement, elderly, qualitative



  1. Steeves, Richard H. PhD, RN, FAAN
  2. Kahn, David L. PhD, RN


This article reports the findings of a qualitative, longitudinal study of bereavement in 15 elders of low socioeconomic status living in the rural south. The bereaved elders were followed after the death of their spouse for an extended period time, ranging from 13 to 29 months. Multiple conversational interviews served as the method of data collection. Hermeneutic analysis revealed five themes that summarized the major concerns these widows and widowers had in the period following the death of their spouse. These themes included metaphors used to talk about grief, work that must be done while bereaved, concerns about home, getting on with their own lives including problems with aging, and that one is ultimately left unsatisfied in the face of grief.