A Qualitative Study of the Impact of Spousal Death on Changed Parenting Practices of Iranian Single-Parent Widows


Sh Khosravan 1 , * , Sh Salehi 2 , F Ahmadi 3 , F Sharif 4

1 Nursing and Midwifery School, Social Development and Health Promotion Research Center, Gonabad University of Medical Sciences, [email protected], Khorasan Razavi, Iran

2 Nursing and Midwifery School, Islamic Azad University, Khorasgan Branch, Iran

3 Tarbiat Modares University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 School of Nursing and Midwifery, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Fars, Iran

How to Cite: Khosravan S, Salehi S, Ahmadi F, Sharif F. A Qualitative Study of the Impact of Spousal Death on Changed Parenting Practices of Iranian Single-Parent Widows, Iran Red Crescent Med J. Online ahead of Print ; 12(4):388-395.


Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal: 12 (4); 388-395
Article Type: Research Article
Received: November 4, 2009
Accepted: February 8, 2010




Background: While it is expected, different causes to decision making accept parenting responsibility and parenting style based on the single parenthood occurs as a result death of the spouse, it has not been clearly articulated. Therefore, we explored the parenting experiences of Iranian single-parent widows who keep custody of their children after their spouses die.


Method: In this descriptive, exploratory study in-depth interviews were held with 24 Iranian single-parent widows. The data generated were analyzed using the constant comparative method. 


Result: Preliminary results indicated four main thematic categories: (a) development of a paradoxical identity: a hopeless widow vs. a hopeful mother, (b) submerging self in custody role vs. staying from widow role, (c) sentimental parenting and, (d) paradoxical evaluation: fruitful for children vs. fruitless for self.


Conclusion: The results indicate that single-parenting after the death of the spouse is a difficult experience. Sentimental parenting practices, related to maladjustment with spousal death and roles transformation is a risk for the health of widow-single parents, so they need to be supported by health care delivery and social welfare systems to cope with their life after spousal death.


Maladjustment Parenting practices Sentimental parenting Single-parent widows

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