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Title: Resilience in later life
Author: Vohora, Reena
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 744X
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Individuals are faced with the prospect of a range of possible losses in later life, relating to one's health, functioning and support network. The view of older adults as being destined to experience psychological distress following such events has begun to be challenged by researchers advocating a strength-based approach to later life. This is in stark contrast to the historical, negative discourse in which older adults are seen as passively accepting or struggling with challenges. The construct of resilience is defined as the ability of individuals to either maintain or return to a position of positive well-being following exposure to unfavourable circumstances. Method A review on resilience in old age and its relationship good mental health was conducted. Additionally, qualitative research using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) enabled exploration of resilience in the personal and relational context via eliciting the experience of spouse carers of individuals with dementia. Results The literature suggested a positive relationship between resilience and good mental health in old age. IPA revealed the presence of four key themes for seven spouse carers demonstrating moderate-very high resilience: 'Making sense of loss'; 'Successfully overcoming the 2 challenges of caring'; 'Recognition of my own needs as a carer' and 'Looking into the future' . Conclusion Resilience does not negate the experience of psychological distress altogether; however, older adults faced with a range of adverse circumstances are able to maintain good psychological functioning and manage well by drawing on personal strengths and external resources. In addition to this, the nature of the marital relationship is important to consider in the context of caring in later life. Clinicians must recognise the presence of resilience in later life, with a view to delivering interventions to promote this, whilst also considering the wider context of aging. Longitudinal research would helpfully provide information on the temporal nature of resilience. 3 •.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available