Widow's perception of their marital relationship and its influence on their restoration‐oriented everyday occupations in the first six months after the death of the spouse: A thematic analysis.

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    • Abstract:
      Introduction: The death of a spouse greatly affects the survivor's emotions and may change one's everyday occupations, especially during recent bereavement. Considering the centrality of everyday occupations to occupational therapy practice, this research aimed to understand women's restoration‐oriented everyday occupations within the first six months after the death of their spouse. Methods: This was a qualitative thematic analysis that applied a realistic method and a theoretical approach at the semantic level. Semi‐structured interviews were conducted to understand the everyday occupations of widows after their husbands' deaths, emphasising those that were restoration‐oriented, according to the dual process model of coping with bereavement framework. The analysis was conducted according to the phases expected to be conducted during a thematic analysis. Results: Fourteen widows with long‐term marital relationships participated in this research. Their perceptions concerning their relationships with their spouses were an important aspect that influenced their everyday occupations. Women who qualitatively described their marital relationships in terms of attributes grouped by the researcher as lost and lonely also mentioned difficulty managing previously habitual occupations and changes in the meanings assigned to some of those occupations. These women mobilised unique strategies to address suffering and occupational changes during bereavement. Women who qualitatively described their relationships with attributes grouped by the researcher as free at last felt freedom after their husbands' deaths, which, according to the widows, brought happiness and feelings of peace and enabled them to engage in freely chosen occupations and to broaden their social networks. Conclusion: Everyday occupations and their meanings can considerably change during widowhood. This study contributes to comprehending the uniqueness of responses to loss. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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