Psychosocial challenges affecting the wellness of widows: a case of selected churches in Nakuru County, Kenya
Muthangya, Anne Kiviu M.
MetadataShow full item record
The loss of a spouse is a life changing experience that presents itself in terms of serious psychological and social challenges that affect the widow wellness. The widow plight in various churches is not addressed due to the lack of awareness on the psychosocial challenges they experience. The purpose of the study was to determine the psychosocial challenges that affect the widow’s wellness and explore the coping and intervention mechanisms adopted by the widows in selected churches in Nakuru County. The objectives of the study were to identify the psychological and social challenges affecting the wellness of widows and explore the coping and intervention mechanisms that the widows adopt to deal with the psychosocial challenges and improve widow wellness within the selected churches in Nakuru County. The study adopted descriptive research design using a qualitative approach. The target population was all widows who attended church services in the selected churches in Nakuru County. The data collection methods were in-depth individual widow interviews and focused group discussions. The data were analyzed thematically and presented in verbatim. The major study findings indicated that spousal death results into psychosocial challenges such as; depressive symptoms, fear of taking up family responsibilities, threats and fear of own life and feelings of regret; while the social challenges included poverty and financial stress, conflicts, isolation and rejection by the in-laws and the community, loneliness among others. To achieve wellness widows engaged in various coping and intervention mechanisms. The coping mechanisms were; the use of divine intervention, social support, acceptance, avoidance and embracing change. The key interventions to overcome the psychosocial challenges, were awareness creation, social support groups, use of personal support and own initiative to seek professional counseling services. The study recommended that for the widows to attain wellness, they need to take personal responsibility to deal with the effects of the psychosocial challenges through self-awareness, seeking professional counselling and to be part of social networks. In addition, the widows could be organized into widow groups for ease of attracting support services from the churches and other agencies. The study also recommended that the churches should endeavor to organize and create a pastoral ministry for widows that would serve as a channel for awareness creation and access to services and resources required for improved wellness.