Resilience and vulnerability: Prolonged grief in the bereaved spouses of marital partners who died of AIDS

Nancy Xiaonan Yu, Cecilia L W Chan, Jianxin Zhang, Sunita M. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Spousal bereavement is closely linked to prolonged grief, that is, significant adjustment symptoms that last for more than six months after the loss. This article focused on potential risk and protective factors that may influence bereavement outcomes. Participants in this study were surviving spouses of individuals who died of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). These participants were themselves living with human immunodeficiency syndrome. In this cross-sectional study, 120 bereaved participants completed measures of grief, quality of dying and death of the deceased, negative conceptions of death resulting from AIDS, death attitudes, and personal resilience. The results showed that one-third (35.0%) of the bereaved participants reported grief levels above the prolonged grief cut-off scores, and can be categorized as the "prolonged grief" group. Although quality of dying and death was not associated with the intensity of grief, negative conceptions of death from AIDS, fear of death and resilience independently predicted grief symptoms in the regression models. Our findings provide insight into the grief process for the surviving spouse of AIDS victims in rural China. Since resilience is malleable, developing resilience interventions to enhance adjustment to bereavement may be a promising direction in grief counselling and therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-444
Number of pages4
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2 2016


  • AIDS
  • HIV
  • Prolonged grief
  • conceptions of death
  • death attitudes
  • quality of dying and death
  • resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Resilience and vulnerability: Prolonged grief in the bereaved spouses of marital partners who died of AIDS'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this