Some Everyday Life Consequences of Disability and Bereavement for Older Adults

Alex J. Zautra, John W. Reich, Charles A. Guarnaccia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


The study analyzed daily event differences between groups experiencing the major stressors of conjugal bereavement and physical disability, and analyzed the association of everyday events with self-reports of mental health for different groups across a 3-month time span. Monthly interviews were conducted with 61 recently conjugally bereaved, 62 recently physically disabled, and 123 matched-comparison older adults between the ages of 60 and 80. The purpose of these interviews was to obtain a comprehensive assessment of the monthly frequencies of everyday life events. Self-reports of mental health were obtained from paper-and-pencil measures filled out after each interview. Causal models were used to analyze the best-fitting structure of event/mental health relationships for the first 3 monthly interviews. Undesirable events showed uniformly adverse effects on mental health. Desirable events benefited the psychological well-being of the disabled the most and had no positive effects on the mental health of the bereaved. The bereaved also evidenced less stability over time than other groups in the frequency of small undesirable events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-561
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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