Resilience among Nepali widows after the death of a spouse: “That was my past and now I have to see my present”

Hendrickson Z.M., Kim J., Tol W.A., Shrestha A., Kafle H.M., Luitel N.P., Thapa L., Surkan P.J.

Qualitative Health Research

Published on: 7 November 2017

Abstract: Responses to the death of a spouse vary; although some are at increased risk of poorer physical and mental healthoutcomes, others have more resilient responses. In light of the limited scope of research on widows’ experiencesin Nepal, a setting where widows are often marginalized, we explore themes of resilience in Nepali widows’ lives.Drawing from a larger qualitative study of grief and widowhood, a thematic narrative analysis was performed onnarratives from four widows that reflected resilient outcomes. Individual assets and social resources contributed tothese widows’ resilient outcomes. Forgetting, acceptance, and moving forward were complemented by confidence andstrength. Social support and social participation were key to widows’ resilient outcomes. These four narratives reflectthe sociocultural context that shape widows’ resilient outcomes in Nepal. Future studies on the emergent themesfrom this exploratory study will help identify how best to encourage resilient outcomes among widows.

Keywords: Asia, south / southeast; bereavement / grief; death and dying; interviews; narrative analysis; narrative inquiry; Nepal;research, qualitative; resilience; women’s health

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