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By Green, Morris; Osterweis, Marian; Solomon, Fredric

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There was a small but significant difference in the consumption of sleeping pills between the 90 widows and widowers (average age 61 years) and the matched controls in Clayton's9 study. There were no differences between the two groups, however, in consumption of tranquilizers or other medicine taken for general health. 70 report both increased and new medicine use among the widowed. Fifty-four percent of the medicines used by the widowed were analgesics, sedatives, sleep medication, or antidepressants.

Suicide among the elderly: isolating widowhood and mitigating alternatives. Journal of Marriage and the Family 34:24-31, 1972. 3. , and Robins, E. The depression of widowhood after thirteen months. British Journal of Psychiatry 122:561-566, 1973. 4. , and Cartright, A. Life After Death: A Study of the Elderly Widowed. London: Tavistock, 1982. 5. H. The epidemiologic evidence for a relationship between social support and health. American Journal of Epidemiology 117:521-537, 1983. 6. , and Sainsbury, P.

As discussed earlier in this chapter there is some evidence suggesting that mortality rates remain high for certain categories of bereft individuals beyond the first year—perhaps into the sixth year after their loss. There is also some indication of an increase in medical illnesses in the second and third years following bereavement, but adequate studies have not been performed to verify this hypothesis. RISK FACTORS Many factors relating to characteristics of the bereaved individual, the nature of the relationship to the deceased, the nature of the death, and the early reactions to bereavement have been hypothesized as placing individuals at risk for one or more adverse outcomes or as protecting individuals from them.

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