The elderly widow and her family, neighbors and friends

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Abstract

Family involvement is compared with friendship and neighboring to determine which has a greater impact upon the personal morale of the 409 elderly widows who were surveyed. Contact with family members, especially children, does little to elevate morale, while friendship neighboring is clearly related to less loneliness and worry, and a feeling of 'usefulness' and individual respect within the community. Friendship and neighboring are more satisfying to the elderly widow because these relationships are based upon common interests and life styles, while the elderly widow's family ties may be marked by dissimilar concerns and interests. Moreover, friendship normally develops voluntarily and is characterized by an equal ability to exchange assistance. The family bond in old age may result in a sense of formal obligation, role reversal between eldery parent and adult child, and dependency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)757-768
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1976

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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