Vulnerability and Coping Mechanism of Aged: A Study of Elderly Widows in Jharkhand

  • Sangeeta Kumari Gupta
  • T. V. SekherEmail author


Widows are the most vulnerable segment among the elderly population in India. About 50% of elderly women (60 years and above) in India are widows compared to only 15% among elderly men. Elderly widows suffer multiple problems attributable to gender, widowhood and old age. Based on a sample survey of 300 rural elderly widows from Jharkhand state, this study examines vulnerability and coping mechanisms, using both quantitative and qualitative data. The vulnerability of elderly widows has been measured on the basis of their social relationships, change in status after becoming widow, decision-making ability, etc. “Self–Adjustment Inventory” and “Social–Adjustment Inventory” have been employed to understand the coping strategies. The study has shown that elderly widows face discrimination within their houses and within the community. They have very limited or no role in family decision-making and are economically dependent on others. Lack of property and savings, loss of husband, and poor health make them vulnerable to abuse. The family as a fundamental unit of society needs to be strengthened along with social security measures to take care of elderly widows.


Elderly widows Vulnerability Coping mechanism Dependency India 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Institute for Population SciencesLongitudinal Ageing Study in India (LASI)MumbaiIndia
  2. 2.International Institute for Population SciencesDepartment of Population Policies & ProgramsMumbaiIndia

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