Resilience Among Nepali Widows After the Death of a Spouse: “That Was My Past and Now I Have to See My Present”

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Abstract

Responses to the death of a spouse vary; although some are at increased risk of poorer physical and mental health outcomes, others have more resilient responses. In light of the limited scope of research on widows’ experiences in 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 on narratives from four widows that reflected resilient outcomes. Individual assets and social resources contributed to these widows’ resilient outcomes. Forgetting, acceptance, and moving forward were complemented by confidence and strength. Social support and social participation were key to widows’ resilient outcomes. These four narratives reflect the sociocultural context that shape widows’ resilient outcomes in Nepal. Future studies on the emergent themes from this exploratory study will help identify how best to encourage resilient outcomes among widows.

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