Sixty-seven widows whose husbands had been killed in the context of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland were assessed in relation to the cause of death, the quality of their marital relationship and the level of worry prior to the loss. Results reported here show that the violent cause of death led to a greater level of long-term psychological distress than other causes of death. Furthermore, widows who reported happiness regarding their marital relationship showed more signs of distress after the loss than those who reported less happiness. Widows who had not worried about their husband showed less signs of psychological distress after the loss than those who had worried. The interpretation of the findings is based on recent thinking in behaviour analysis.
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