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CONTINUING BONDS IN COPING WITH THE DEATH OF A HUSBAND

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This study examined the continuing bond (CB) to the deceased in coping with the death of a husband. Fifteen early-bereaved widows whose husband had died 4 months previously and 15 later-bereaved widows whose husband had died more than 2 years ago were electronically signaled every 3 hours to complete a set of measures that included the PANAS positive and negative mood scales and CB coping. Participants completed these measures 4 times each day for 14 successive days. Following from an attachment theory perspective on the role of CB in providing felt security, it was hypothesized that CB would be effective as a way of coping in mood regulation, but that its effectiveness would be moderated by time since the death. Consistent with predictions, a positive within-person relationship was found between CB coping and positive mood for the later-bereaved group, but not for early-bereaved widows. CB coping was also positively related to negative mood for both early, and later-bereaved widow groups, however. Finally, in a lagged analysis, greater use of CB was predictive of a shift toward more negative mood among early-bereaved widows, but not for later-bereaved widows. The results were discussed in the context of previous literature on the function of CB in adaptation to bereavement.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, Palo Alto, California, USA 2: Deer Oaks Mental Health Associates, Victoria, Texas, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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