Widowhood and disability

Widowhood associated with disability

Elderly men from Finland, The Netherlands and Italy who became widowed during 10 years of observation had a 2-fold greater risk of disabilities related to instrumental activities or mobility than those who did not lose their wives. Widowed men living alone had 75% fewer mobility-related disabilities and 98% fewer basic activities-related disability than those living with other adults. The associations among countries did not differ.

Observations among widowed men

In elderly men of the FINE study, duration of widowhood more or less than 5 years were studied according to household composition: living alone, with family, or in an institution. Standardized questionnaires were used for measuring different Activities of Daily Living.

About the FINE study

In 1984, the SCS field surveys were extended with different aspects of health in the FINE (Finland Italy Netherlands Elderly) study. Similar surveys were also carried out in Serbia and Crete. Read more about the FINE study.

More about healthy aging

From 1984 onwards, additional studies started to examine indicators of healthy ageing in the elderly populations of in the SCS and related studies.


Measuring functional status

Functional status was measured with a self-administered 13-item WHO-questionnaire on activities of daily living.

Disability and depressive symptoms

In elderly men from Finland, Italy and the Nethelands in the FINE Study, self-reported information on disability and depressive symptoms was collected in 1990 and 1995.