Cognitive adaptation and women's adjustment to conjugal bereavement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Conjugal bereavement is experienced by the majority of older women in enduring relationships. Although most experience considerable distress in the immediate aftermath of this loss, the majority adjusts over the course of time. The current study of self-selected participants applies the theory of cognitive adaptation in an attempt to distinguish between women who have successfully adjusted to the death of their husbands versus those who exhibit prolonged distress. Results of this study suggest that positivity biases in personally relevant information processing (i.e., self-deception, marital aggrandizement, dispositional optimism) are significantly associated with life satisfaction and the absence of psychiatric distress. The contribution of cognitive adaptation is maintained over and above that provided by personality variables (i.e., neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience). Intervention strategies to treat enduring distress among widowed women are considered on the basis of these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-104
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Women and Aging
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 21 Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Bereavement
  • Cognitive adaptation
  • Well-being
  • Widowed women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Cognitive adaptation and women's adjustment to conjugal bereavement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this