Psykologisk Institut

Helle Spindler

Sensory experiences of one’s deceased spouse in older adults: An analysis of predisposing factors

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

  • Karina Stengaard Kamp
  • ,
  • Edith Maria Steffen, Roehampton University
  • ,
  • Andrew Moskowitz, Touro College Berlin
  • ,
  • Helle Spindler

Objectives This study focuses on pre-disposing factors associated with sensory experiences of the deceased (SED), also called bereavement hallucinations. Even though SED are common among older widowed adults, our knowledge of these experiences is still limited. Method Survey responses were obtained from 310 older widowed participants (M = 70.05 ± 8.39), complemented with data from Danish national registers. Results Hierarchical logistic regression analysis revealed four significant pre-disposing factors: prior experiences of SED in the context of previous significant bereavements (OR = 4.72), a history of interpersonal trauma (OR = 5.8), high pre-death relationship closeness (OR = 2.76) and stronger religious/spiritual worldview (OR = 1.12). No association to registered mental health diagnosis was identified. Conclusion: SED may be considered an interpersonal experience, which may be more likely to occur if the pre-death relationship is described as very close and if the bereaved has previously experienced interpersonal trauma. We argue that SED should not necessarily be considered an indication of neurodegenerative or psychiatric diseases.

TidsskriftAging and Mental Health
Sider (fra-til)140-148
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - 2022

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