Artículo de revista
Coping processes that foster accommodation to loss in old age
Aging & Mental Health 2020, Vol. 24, No. 2, 300–307
Thumala Dockendorff, Daniela
Arnold Cathalifaud, Marcelo
Aim: Flexible adjustment or accommodation to loss is healthy; however, little is known about how it can be achieved in old age. We sought to identify and characterize effective coping processes for achieving accommodation at this stage of life. Our aim was to foster the activation of the psychological resources of those who must deal with significant losses to which they will inevitably need to adapt. Method: Qualitative study with a sample of men (n=16) and women (n=19) aged 60 years and up. Information was collected through observation and content analysis applied to 35 in-depth interviews, using Atlas-Ti (v7). Results: Eighteen coping processes implemented in response to loss were identified and characterized. Although no single process led to full adjustment by itself, the difference between the participants who accommodated and those who lacked accommodation was reflected in the predominance of certain processes. This approach enabled us to identify 13 effective processes, such as the search for meaning and the use of humor, which were generally used by participants who had achieved accommodation. The processes regarded as ineffective, such as avoidance and procrastination, were used more often by those who displayed insufficient accommodation. Conclusion: It was confirmed that accommodation to losses in old age not only results from “the passage of time”; rather, it can be fostered by people's active efforts. Knowledge of these practices can help practitioners orient mental health interventions for older adults who have difficulty coping in healthy ways and preserving their subjective well-being.