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Widowhood’s Effect on Careers 1 1 Jessica Lindahl, B. A. Jia Lee, B. S. 1 Department of Counseling, University of Nebraska at Omaha © 2010 - 2020 Harvard University. All rights reserved. © 2020 burialplanning. com CAREER STRUGGLES BACKGROUND According to the U. S. Census Bureau, nearly 90% of the one million people widowed each year will be women. In the 2011 U. S. Census, the median age of widowhood was 59. Of these women, nearly 5% were younger than 45. 6 Although the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate that the majority of women participate in the labor force, nearly 30% of women with children under 18, and over 35% of women with children under six do not. Additionally, BLS data reflect that over 80% of widows did not participate in the labor force. 11 A survey of more than 3, 300 respondents found that only 14% of widows were making financial decisions by themselves before their spouse died. 5 Social support especially from the widow’s families was found to be the most important indicator of psychological adjustment after death of a spouse. 10 GENERAL STRUGGLES IN WIDOWHOOD Identity: When a widow losses a spouse, they can struggle with a loss of identity. This impacts their sense of identity in self, work, careers and family roles. 4 Depression: Individuals experience both physiological and psychological responses to severe shock and loss. Over time, feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness may surface as widows direct their attention to planning for the future without their spouse. 1 Role Changes: Widows often assume the caretaker role after the death of their spouse, which can involve devoting attention to comforting others such as children and family 12 Financial Stress: Women are more than three times as likely as men to lose their spouse. But very few wives seem prepared to be able to manage their finances if their husbands die 4 Best interventions for career struggles in widowhood : • Social 8 Support • Identity • Career Loss of Career due to new responsibilities at home. 11 Starting a new career due to loss of spouse: • Stress due to non-traditional age of entry into a new profession, requirements for technology proficiency, faster paced environments and/or lack of work experience. 2 • Lower income due to gender disparities and entry level wages. 14 Current career re-entry adjustments: • More frequent absences and leave time, due to being sole provider. 13 • More absences due to needed counseling intervention. 13 4 Restoration 3 Assessment Sickness Absence Rate by Marital Status, Age, and Gender 13 Additional Career Counseling Interventions The University of Nebraska does not discriminate based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and/or political affiliation in its programs, activities, or employment. Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle 9 7 Coping skills 3 Transition Goals Gender-Focused Journal 3 3 Career Genograms REFERENCES 1. Blanchard, C, Blanchard, E. & Becker, J. (2016). The Young Widow: Depressive Symptomatology Throughout the Grief Process. Psychiatry Interpersonal and Biological Processes. 39: 4, 394 -399. 2. Callanan, G. , Perri, D. & Tomkowicz, S. (2017). Career Management in Uncertain Times: Challenges and Opportunities. The Career Development Quarterly. 65: 4, 353 -365. 3. Gysbers, N. C. , Heppner, M. J. , & Johnston, J. A. (2014). Career counseling: Holism, diversity, and strengths (4 thed. ). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association. 4. Haase, T. & Johnston, N. (2012) Making Meaning out of Loss: A Story and Study of Young Widowhood, Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 7: 3, 204 -221. 5. Hannon, K. (2018, Oct. 4). Preparing for the Financial Shocks of Widowhood. 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The Benefits of Career Counseling for Reentry Young Widows. Retrieved from https: //www. christinamschultz. com/blog/the-benefits-of-career-counseling-for-reentry-young-widows. 12. Taylor, N. & Robinson, W. (2016). The Lived Experience of Young Widows and Widowers, The American Journal of Family Therapy, 44: 2, 67 -79. 13. Vignes, B. (2017). Crisis or Chronic Strain? Gender and Age Differences in Sickness Absence following early Spousal Loss, 58: 1, 54 -69. 14. Yearby, R. (2019) When Equal Pay Is Not Enough: The Influence of Employment Discrimination on Health Disparities. Sage Journals 134: 4, 447 -450.