Gender, Aging and Widowhood

  • Deborah Carr
  • Susan Bodnar-Deren
Part of the International Handbooks of Population book series (IHOP, volume 1)

Widowhood is widely regarded as a women’s issue. In all developed and nearly all developing nations, women are more likely than men to survive the death of their spouse, reflecting men’s higher rates of mortality and the tendency of women to marry men slightly older than themselves. Women also are more likely than men to remain unmarried after their spouse dies, due both to a highly skewed sex ratio among older adults and men’s greater desire to remarry after losing a spouse. Moreover, widowhood has increasingly become an older women’s issue; as life expectancy has increased steadily over the past century in virtually every nation, spousal loss overwhelmingly befalls older adults. As such, widowhood has important consequences for the living arrangements and physical, economic and psychological well-being of older adults. The distinctive ways that older men and women experience widowhood are shaped by demographic factors, including the timing of their spouse’s death; the number and gender distribution of their children; the living arrangements, employment patterns and migration patterns of their children; one’s own physical health and functioning in later life; cultural context; and gender-typed socialization processes that occur over the life course.


Living Arrangement Filial Piety Complicated Grief Future Cohort Bereave Person 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deborah Carr
    • 1
  • Susan Bodnar-Deren
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Institute for Health Health Care Policy and Aging ResearchRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.Rutgers UniversityNews BrunswickUSA

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