Anticipatory Loss for Aging Parents

By: Connie Kartoz   Munira Wells   Paige Hammell  

Anticipation of the eventual loss of aging, yet healthy parents consists of feelings of gratitude, sadness, and worry. This type of loss is distinct from the anticipatory grief experienced when the death of a parent is approaching. The purpose of this study is to explore the conceptual definition of parent anticipatory loss, its measurement, and correlates with sociodemographic characteristics such as race and ethnicity. The Parent Anticipatory Loss Scale (PALS) contains items such as “I feel lucky that my parents are as healthy as they are”, rated on an 8- point Likert scale. Expert content validity was established with a six-member panel. After IRB approval, a sample (N= 315) of non-caregiving, mostly Caucasian (n = 182, 57.6%) men (n=202, 63.9%), average age of 36.4 (SD 10.2), was obtained through the crowdsourcing platform, Mechanical Turk. Items with an inter-item correlation < 0.3 and > 0.8 were eliminated resulting in a 19 item scale (α = 0.93). Anticipatory loss for the aging parent had small correlations with time spent with parent (r =0.27; p < .001), and emotional and functional supports provided (r = 0.22, p < .001) and received (r = 0.2, p < .001). Inter-item correlations, group difference testing multiple regression were all non-significant for age, income, education level and racial identity, suggesting that anticipatory loss may transcend national identities. Future research is recommended to replicate these findings and explore relationships between anticipatory loss and health outcomes such as caregiving preparedness, health disparities, and quality of life in aging families.

Social and Cultural Perspectives on Aging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dr. Connie Kartoz

Assistant Professor, Nursing, The College of New Jersey

Connie Kartoz is a family researcher and a former Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar. Her research focuses on family experiences in various life stages and its connection to health outcomes such as medication adherence. She teaches at The College of New Jersey in the graduate and undergraduate program and is currently the graduate coordinator. She works with older adults and their families regularly as a Rheumatology Nurse Practitioner.

Dr. Munira Wells

Seton Hall University

Munira Wells is a transcultural nurse researcher and former Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar. She is the assistant chairperson of the Adult nursing courses in the Undergraduate department of Seton Hall University. She works with diverse patient and student populations and specializes in adult health.

Paige Hammell

The College of New Jersey