Reactions of Bereaved Spouses to Spousal Death in Nigeria: Implications for Mental Health Counselling

Shuaib Abolakale Muhammed


Death of spouse is one of the most traumatic life events which engender different reactions. This study examined grief reactions of bereaved spouses in Nigeria. A descriptive survey was used in selecting a sample of 1,594 bereaved spouses across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria through purposive and proportional sampling techniques. Grief Reaction of Bereaved Spouses Scale was the major instrument used to amass data. Means, percentages, rank order, t-test, and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) statistical measures were employed to analyze the data collected for the study. The findings of the study revealed that 53.5% of the respondents had positive grief reactions while 46.5% had negative reaction; the common grief reactions of respondents include loneliness, sleeplessness, depressive moods and decreased appetite among others. Length of years of loss had an influence in the Grief reactions of bereaved souses in Nigeria however their reactions are not influenced by gender, nature of death and religious affiliation. The implication is that bereaved spouses need to be assisted to cope with grief.  Counsellors should therefore, provide relevant community-based intervention programmes to assist bereaved spouses of different age groups, length of years of loss and nature of death, religion and gender to cope with grief.

 Keywords:  Bereaved Spouses, Counselling, Grief, Grief Reaction, Nigeria

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