Do experiences make us wise? An exploration of spousal bereavement in later life.

Webb, Clare (2018) Do experiences make us wise? An exploration of spousal bereavement in later life. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

Background Increases in life expectancy mean that spousal bereavement is increasingly delayed to later life, and therefore likely to occur in the context of other challenges and losses. Such life events may serve as an opportunity for the enhancement of personal wisdom. However, the experience of wisdom following spousal bereavement in later life has been overlooked in the literature.
Methodology This study uses constructivist grounded theory to explore the process of wisdom development in individuals following spousal bereavement in later life. Individual semi-structured interviews were completed and data was transcribed and analysed using a constant comparative method by the researcher.
Results Six categories emerged from the interviews: initial impact of loss, triggers (to being open to experiences), being open to experiences, wisdom – learning from experience, positive change, and remaining connected. It was found that the development of being open to experiences, wisdom – learning from experience and positive change was not linear and that this was an interactive and dynamic process.
Conclusion After being faced with challenges associated with the death of a spouse, participants developed a sense of positive change and wisdom, the latter in regards to learning to reflect on different perspectives, being better able to deal with emotions, having greater empathy and compassionate concern for others and tolerating uncertainty. Positive change and wisdom then influenced openness further, as individuals felt a greater sense of being able to deal with the potential ups and downs of being open to experiences.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2018 12:19
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2018 12:19
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/68981
DOI:

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