Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Margaret I. Chelnik
Widowhood is the common term for the loss of a spouse, either male or female. This altered marital status requires life adjustments by the surviving partner to maintain a meaningful and fulfilled life after the loss. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 11.3 million widows overshadow the 2.6 million widowers and 50 to 70 percent of women over the age of 65 are widowed, while their male counterparts constitute only 12 to 20 percent. Whereas widowhood issues were once dominated by the elderly, due to rising population rates and world instability (i.e., accidents, war, illness, civil unrest) widowhood rates are significantly increasing in all age and gender cohorts. No matter the age, widowhood represents a life transition to singlehood, including managing life's complexities and unfamiliar responsibilities formerly borne by two individuals but ...