Purpose: We sought to determine whether widowhood-associated excess mortality differs by gender in terms of causes of death. Methods: Data were collected from a five-wave interview of approximately 2500 community-dwelling elders in the Survey of Health and Living Status of the Nearly Elderly and Elderly. Baseline characteristics were used to derive the risk score (RS) to reflect individual's baseline pre-widowhood vulnerability. Time-dependent Cox regression analyses were used to estimate spousal loss-related mortality by causes. Results: For males, the adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) of widowhood for all-cause and some major causes of death (e.g., neoplasm) increased inversely with RS: the aHRs for all-cause death were 4.81 and 1.76 in the lowest and highest RS groups, respectively. In contrast, the corresponding aHRs were relatively homogeneous for women (1.52 and 1.70). Conclusions: Identifying gender heterogeneity in widowhood effects can guide further efforts to devise gender-tailored programs to enhance healthy aging.
- Gender Differences
- Risk Score