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Widowhood and Family Support in the North and South Pacific: A Comparative Review

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

McNally, James. 2003. "Widowhood and Family Support in the North and South Pacific: A Comparative Review." Journal of Women and Aging, 15:2/3.

This paper compares the impacts of health and widowhood on the level of support received by elderly women living in small island communities within the Philippines and Fiji. Using a theoretical perspective of ongoing reciprocal exchange as opposed to altruistic support within household economies, this paper reviews the impacts of disability and economic contributions on the level of support an elderly female receives. It is hypothesized that as the health of the widow declines her access to care will also diminish due to an inability to contribute to the household economies of the extended family. This paper extends existing work on health and family support of widowed females in the developing world by performing a cross-national comparative analysis as well as by explicitly testing the assumptions of altruism that are a central assumption of most models of long-term care in underdeveloped nations.

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