Social isolation and health in widowhood: A qualitative study of Nepali widows' experiences

Health Care Women Int. 2016 Dec;37(12):1277-1288. doi: 10.1080/07399332.2016.1142546. Epub 2016 Jan 19.


Little research exists on social isolation and health among widows despite their marginalization in South Asia. Using a conceptual framework that delineates distinct forms of social support, our results provide a preliminary analysis of the role social support plays in the well-being of Nepali widows. Between 2011 and 2012, we conducted 42 in-depth interviews in the Kathmandu valley and Surkhet district. Low social support was a common theme, principally lacking in the domains of emotional and instrumental support and was described as increasing women's vulnerability to mistreatment and economic insecurity. Policies and programs that foster these types of support may have positive effects on widows' well-being.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Middle Aged
  • Nepal
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Isolation*
  • Social Support*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Widowhood / psychology*