Widowhood, health status, and the use of health services by older adults: A cross-sectional and prospective approach

F. D. Wolinsky, R. J. Johnson

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Using data from the LSOA, we examined the relationship between widowhood, health status, and the use of health services. Controlling for the characteristics specified in the behavioral model, a cross-sectional assessment of the 2,354 respondents widowed at baseline showed that regardless of how the recency of widowhood is modeled, it is not related to any measure of health status, and it is only marginally associated with two measures of health services utilization: nursing home placement and death. A prospective assessment of the 4,113 respondents reinterviewed at follow-up produced similar results. Becoming widowed did not alter previous reports of health status, nor prior patterns of physician or hospital utilization. Being widowed did, however, significantly increase the likelihood of being placed in a nursing home. For the 14 respondents who were both widowed and placed in a nursing home after baseline, the sequence is always widowhood first, and then nursing home placement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S8-S16
JournalJournals of Gerontology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging

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