Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New relationship important for the mental health of widowers

14.12.2011
Men who have lost their partner to cancer and who are still single four to five years after their loss run a far greater risk of developing mental illness than those who have managed to find a new partner, reveals a unique study of 691 Swedish widowers carried out at the Sahlgrenska Academy

More than 22,000 people die of cancer in Sweden each year. It has been scientifically proven that relatives of the deceased are at greater risk of dying themselves or developing mental and physical illness, although studies have tended to focus on widows, and on the short-term risks.

Unique long-term study

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy have now carried out a unique long-term study of 691 Swedish men who lost their wives to cancer. Part-funded by the Swedish Cancer Society and the Swedish Research Council, the study shows that widowers who had found a new partner four to five years after the death of their wife managed to deal with their loss relatively well.

Sleeping pills and antidepressants

However, those who remained single were at far greater risk of developing depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and emotional blunting, and were also more likely to use sleeping pills and antidepressants.

Long-term risk

“Previous studies have shown that people who lose their partner are at greater short-term poor mental health,” says professor Gunnar Steineck who worked on the study. “Our study is the first to show that the risk of poor mental health last for many years but, on the average, the risk is restricted to those who don’t find a new partner.”

Can your results be interpreted as proof that love heals?

“We need more research to understand the underlying mechanisms, but yes, emotional support from a new partner does probably help to process grief and protect against mental illness,” says Steineck. “But it could also be the case that those men who cope best with their loss are more likely to show an interest in finding a new partner.”

THE SURVEY

The study was based on a questionnaire sent out to 691 widows in Sweden. It included questions on medication and perceived quality of life, and the answers were then compared with those from a control group of around 300 married men.

For more information, please contact: Gunnar Steineck, professor at the Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
Telephone: +46 (0)31 343 90 75
Mobile: +46 (0)70 738 7461
E-mail: gunnar.steineck@oncology.gu.se
Bibliographic data:
Journal: Psych-onchology
Title: Long-term mental health of men who lose a wife to cancer—a population-based follow-up

Authors: Arna Hauksdóttir, Unnur Valdimarsdóttir, Carl Johan Fürst, Gunnar Steineck

The study has been published in the journal Psycho-Oncology. Link to article: http://bit.ly/w0gh5P

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se
http://bit.ly/w0gh5P

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

nachricht Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>