Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Fred L. Adair
This study described spousal reactions to loss following a cancer related death. Anticipatory grieving behaviors and variables unique to cancer were examined using Lazarus' cognitive appraisal paradigm. An interview which focused on self-reported changes in thoughts and feelings from time of diagnosis to the time of the death was administered by the researcher to thirty men and/or women whose spouses had died from cancer over the past two and a half years.;Individual responses to the interview questions were categorized according to type of response. The findings suggest that the majority of men and/or women whose spouses have died from a cancer related death over the past two and a half years experienced changes in thoughts and feelings about the death from the time of diagnosis to the time of death as a result of the nature of the disease. The changes in thoughts and feelings followed a variety of patterns, most commonly, a change from being realistic about the outcome to wishing that the spouse would die. Forty percent of the subjects indicated that their thoughts and feeling remained unchanged throughout the illness.;The findings also suggest that most men and/or women whose spouses have died from a cancer related death discuss death and dying with their spouse, were preoccupied with thoughts of their spouse's death, and experienced changes in their personal roles. Almost half of the sample utilized do not appear to experience changes in their thoughts and feelings regarding spousal death as a result of anticipatory grieving behaviors.;The findings also suggest that men and/or women whose spouses have died from a cancer related death experience feelings of sadness, disbelief, guilt, confusion, longing, anxiety, and relief at the time of spousal death. They do not appear to experience a loss of faith at the time of spousal death. Some of the men and/or women interviewed expressed feelings of happiness, peace, and intense relief at the time of spousal death resulting from cancer.
© The Author
Elison, Jennifer Claire Kinyon, "Reactions to spousal death resulting from cancer: A descriptive study of anticipatory grief and the cognitive appraisal of the loss of a spouse" (1991). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. William & Mary. Paper 1539618680.