Older Widowers in Taiwan: Exploring Older Men's Health-Related Quality of Life following Spousal Bereavement
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Older widowers face unique challenges during the transition to widowhood including decreased residual life expectancy, increased mortality, declining physical and psychological health, reduced social functioning, and impaired overall health-related quality of life (HRQOL) (Sun, 2009; van den Hoonaard, 2010). No literature reported HRQOL among Taiwanese older widowers. The purpose of this present study was to examine demographic characteristics, association among demographic and HRQOL indicators, demographic predictors of HRQOL, and the health-related needs of older widowers in Taiwan.This quantitative cross-sectional study employed the World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL)-BREF Taiwan version instrument, an open-ended health-related needs question, and a demographic questionnaire. Data occurred from in-person interviews with 90 widowers over the age of 60 living in Taiwan. Participants had lowest HRQOL scores in social relationships (M = 13.41, SD = 2.20) and highest scores in physical health (M = 14.68, SD = 2.53). Correlation analysis identified years since bereavement correlated with environment (Pearson r = .26, p = .01) and environment (TW-Taiwan version item) (Pearson r = .28, p = .01); years of marriage with social relationships (Pearson r = .26, p = .02) and social relationships (TW) (Pearson r = .28, p = .01); and past relationship with wife correlated with psychological health (Spearman's rho = -.24, p = .02). Multiple linear regression found total income predicted overall QOL (Beta = .35, p = .02); lower HRQOL in social relationships was predicted by less years of marriage (Beta = .81, p = .00), less years since bereavement (Beta = .55, p = .01), older age (Beta = -.39, p = .03), and lower frequency of contacting friends (Beta = -.30, p = .01). Language and culture influenced some participant responses and no specific health needs were identified.The findings provide fundamental understandings of identifying those Taiwanese older widowers who may be at risk of impaired HRQOL. This study adds information to nursing knowledge and science in developing culturally tailored bereavement interventions needed to facilitate older widowers' transition to widowhood with enhanced HRQOL.