Gender and the Subjective Well-Being of Older Widows and Widowers.

TitleGender and the Subjective Well-Being of Older Widows and Widowers.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsGeng, J, Calasanti, TM
JournalThe International Journal of Aging and Human Development
ISSN Number1541-3535
Keywordsgender repertoires, Happiness, inequalities, Life Satisfaction

Previous research on older adults who are widowed often focuses on the immediate subjective impacts of spousal loss, and how gender might influence this. Our interest here is on the factors that influence subjective well-being after a period of at least two years' post-bereavement, and how this might differ for men and women. We draw on theoretical considerations from previous research on gender and on widowhood and use two different measures-life satisfaction and happiness-to assess possible differences in this subjective outcome. We used data from the 2014 Health and Retirement Study on 692 widowed adults aged 65 and over (578 females and 114 males) and employed regression and postestimation analyses to examine whether and how gender influences their subjective well-being. Our findings show that gender did not affect overall levels of subjective well-being, regardless of measure. However, gender did influence the predictors, such as total household income, total wealth, and social support from children and friends, for life satisfaction and happiness somewhat differently. Our study highlights the importance of examining gender differences among older widows and widowers and also underlines the importance of introducing different measures of subjective well-being that might yield different yet valuable findings.

Citation Key12383
PubMed ID35469425