Factors that influence the Health of older widows and widowers—A systematic review of quantitative research
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionHolm, A. L., Berland, A. K., & Severinsson, E. (2019). Factors that influence the health of older widows and widowers: A systematic review of quantitative research. Nursing Open, 6, 591-611. 10.1002/nop2.243
Aim: To examine factors that influence the health of older widows and widowers. The review question was: What is the evidence of the relationship between widowhood and health in older adults? Design: Systematic review. Data sources: Academic Search Elite, CINAHL, Medline (Ovid) and PubMed were searched for articles published between January 2013–December 2017. Review methods: A systematic review of quantitative research with a qualitative thematic analysis. Results: The selection process resulted in 12 studies. One of the themes that emerged was: Emotional challenges related to experiences of bereavement, depression and anxiety, which was based on the sub‐theme Social support as the main strategy for coping with emotional pain and suffering. The second theme was: Struggling with poor physical health. The findings indicate that healthcare professionals need knowledge and skills to deal with the health consequences of widowhood in old age. Building community teams can prevent emotional and physical health problems, as well as reduce mortality.