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Title: Understanding the lives of older women : adjustment in later life
Author: Traynor, Victoria
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis focuses on understanding the lives of older women and explaining adjustment in later life. The theoretical perspective of existentialism framed the qualitative approach used to carry out the research. The data are derived from in-depth interviews with older women (ranging from 60 to 89 years) and participant observation at two day centres for older people. The grounded theory approach of concurrent data collection and data analysis was adopted drawing on the work of Glaser & Strauss (1967). Audio-typed interviews and daily fieldnotes recorded contrasting stories of women struggling with adjustment in later life with those of women enjoying a successful old age. These contrasts were found to be evidence regardless of the women's circumstances. Some women who faced a challenge to the meaning and purpose of their lives managed successful adjustment when others struggled with adjustment and some experienced depression. Understanding about these contrasting experiences is provided by the three major categories which emerged as the most significant aspects of adjustment in later life among older women: explaining depression, intimacy in the lives of older women; and managing change in later life. A core category of searching for meaning was discovered and is used to show that women engaged in a common process to make sense of their lives and the outcomes of their search affected adjustment in later life. The relationship between the major categories is explained through the properties of the core category and serves to explain how the search for meaning affects adjustment in later life. The interaction between the major categories determines whether the woman's life makes sense and structures her adjustment work in later life.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available