J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  1998 May;2(1):85-93.

Depressive Symptoms of the Spousal Bereaved Elders

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


There are many studies of the spousal bereavement as an important etiologic factor of depression in elders. But there are some differernt natures of spousal bereavement between the Korean and the western elderly. The problems of spousal bereavement in Korean would be more persistent than that in western. And the depressive symptoms of Korean elders are different with that of western elders due to the differences of sociocultural background. The authors studied the effect of the spousal bereavement to the depressive symptoms of elders by using KGDS (Korean Form of Geriatric Depression Scale), which already has been standardized in Korea. The subjects were consist of one hundred seventy-five, 60 years and older. The authors compared KGDS and its 5 factors in the spousal bereaved subjects group (SBG) with those in the spousal non-bereaved subjects group (SNG), and also investigated the differences according to sex and children living with the subject in the SBG. And the authors analysed the correlations between ages at spousal death, durations after spousal death and KGDS in the SBG. The mean KGDS scores in the SBG were significantly higher than that of the SNG, and especially Factor 1, Factor 2 and Factor 4 were significant. In the SBG, the mean KGDS scores of the female were significantly higher than that of the male, and especially Factor 2, Factor 3, and Factor 5 were significant. And in the SBG, the mean KGDS scores of the subjects living with children were slightly higher than those of the subjects living without children. And also in the SBG, there were negative correlations between KGDS scores and ages at spousal death, and positive correlations between KGDS scores and durations after spousal death. The authors found that the spousal bearevement could be an important etiologic factor of geriatric depression, and the risk factors of depression were female, younger at spousal death and longer duration after spousal death in bereaved elders, as the earlier studies in the western. However, the authors found that, in Korea, there were some different results from the western, such as the longer duration after spousal death and higher ratio of the widower to the widow than that in the western, the spousal bereaved elders living with children were rather depressive than who living without children.


Bereavement; Geriatric; Depressive symptoms
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