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Title: Quality of life at older ages and marital status : gender and welfare regime variation
Author: Abell, Jessica
ISNI:       0000 0005 0733 7121
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2014
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Background: Evidence of an association between marital status and well-being has been demonstrated, with married people reporting higher levels of well-being. However, the strength of this relationship in later life may be influenced by both societal context and gender. This thesis will examine the association between marital status and quality of life in older people and consider if this relationship varies by welfare arrangements and if gender moderates these associations. This research will also explore how quality of life is experienced within married couples. Methods: Quality of life was measured using CASP-12. The relationship with both current and past marital status was examined. Analyses were conducted using data from The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). A welfare state regime approach was used to examine societal context and due to feminist criticisms of these approaches, two further methods of comparison were used. A dyadic data technique was also used to examine the interdependence of quality of life for married people. Results: Current marital status was found to be a predictor of quality of life at older ages. However, variation in this association was observed across the welfare state regimes. When health and socio-economic circumstances were taken into account, the advantage of marriage for quality of life was often attenuated. Gender differences in this relationship were also observed; especially when gender focused methods were examined. Spousal interdependence of quality of life was also observed within married couples. Conclusions: This research expands our understanding of the association between marriage and well-being by suggesting that societal context is important and that marriage may offer men and women different kinds of protection as they age. It also suggests that for older married couples, quality of life is not just an individual experience.
Supervisor: Netuveli, Gopal; Blane, David; Webb, Elizabeth Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral