Effects of disability and bereavement on the mental health and recovery of older adults.

J. W. Reich, A. J. Zautra, C. A. Guarnaccia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We investigated the role of two major stressors, recent disability and conjugal bereavement, in older adults' self-reports of mental health and recovery from stress. A sample of 246 older adults between the ages of 60-80 was interviewed monthly for 3 months by trained elderly interviewers; Month-10 interview data were also analyzed. Control subjects, who were not experiencing the stressors, were carefully selected from a sample of adults matched on age, sex, and socioeconomic status. Dependent variables were psychological distress and psychological well-being, each with component subscales. The disabled group evidenced significantly lower positive well-being and significantly greater distress than did the other groups. Bereaved subjects demonstrated high levels of depression compared with the disabled subjects, but showed less anxiety. Bereaved subjects showed recovery on several indicators of mental health, but disabled subjects continued to show considerable psychological upset in comparison with the other groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology and aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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