Dr. Helen K. Black, a researcher in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice, co-authored "The Salience of Family Worldview in Mourning an Elderly Husband and Father" with Holly Santanello ’09, which appeared in The Gerontologist.
The purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore family reaction to the death of the elderly husband and father in the family. We qualitatively interviewed 34 families (a family included a widow and 2 adult biological children) approximately 6-15 months after the death. In private, one-on-one, in-depth interviews, we discussed how the death affected each family member as an individual and how each member perceived that the death altered the family as a unit.
An individual's worldview, embedded in the smaller culture of the family and the larger culture of society, offers a template for appropriate grief reactions. Our article builds on the constructs of worldview, grief for the husband and father, and narrative at the juncture of self-evaluation, as family members reflected on where they stood in their own journey through life in light of the death.