Late-Life Bereavement: Association Between Familial Death and Weight Loss Among Elderly in the United States


Mercan M. A. , Barlin H., Cebeci A. F.

OMEGA-JOURNAL OF DEATH AND DYING, vol.74, no.1, pp.3-15, 2016 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 74 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0030222816649082
  • Journal Name: OMEGA-JOURNAL OF DEATH AND DYING
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.3-15
  • Keywords: obesity, widowhood, United States, OLDER-ADULTS, HEALTH BEHAVIORS, MARITAL TRANSITIONS, SIBLING BEREAVEMENT, COMPLICATED GRIEF, WIDOWED PERSONS, EATING BEHAVIOR, SPOUSAL LOSS, DEPRESSION, WOMEN

Abstract

Healthy aging is critical for the elderly to be independent and enjoy at least a satisfactory quality of life. However, late-life bereavement threatens healthy aging, as it may lead to adverse health effects. Using data from the Health and Retirement Survey, this study investigates the relationship between weightspecifically, body mass index (BMI)and the loss of a parent, sibling, or spouse at an older age. It is the first attempt to investigate this relationship among the elderly population in the United States and makes the following notable contributions to the literature: (a) use of a large longitudinal dataset, (b) estimation of the effects of a familial death on a person's BMI, and (c) investigation of the consequences of the bereavement for older people. Our results suggest that losing a family member at an older age results in a decrease in BMI.