Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Education and Human Services


Counseling and Educational Leadership

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Harriet L. Glosoff

Committee Member

Larry Burlew

Committee Member

Brian Carolan

Committee Member

Leslie Kooyman


Spousal loss can be a stressful life event for older adults and a difficult experience that affects daily life and life satisfaction of older adults. Life satisfaction is considered an important part of successful aging. The purpose of this study was to examine how participation in leisure activities, a person’s gender, and time since spousal loss influence life satisfaction of widowed older adults. A sample of 222 widowed older adults selected from the Americans Changing Lives (ACL) dataset was used in order to determine the relationship and impact of predictor variables on time since spousal loss, change in physical leisure participation, and gender on changes in life satisfaction of widowed older adults. Correlation analysis showed no significant relationship between time since spousal loss and life satisfaction change; however, analyses of gender, age at time of spousal loss, and change in physical leisure participation resulted in statistically significant relationships. Further, the results of a multiple regression analysis suggest that age at time of loss, changes in physical participation, and being female are the greatest predictors of widowed older adults’ life satisfaction. Finally, gender does not seem to be a moderator between changes in physical participation and life satisfaction change. The meaningfulness of statistical significance of such results was explored and implications for these findings and suggestions for future research were discussed.

Included in

Counseling Commons