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Title: The quality of life, social care and family relationships of older unmarried Saudi women living in Jeddah : a qualitative study
Author: Salamah, Seham
ISNI:       0000 0004 6501 0605
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2018
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Changes in the Saudi family structure are having profound effects on the current cohort of older Saudi women. This is reflected in living arrangements whereby family patterns have been transformed from extended to nuclear ones. Previous social research has not examined the current situation of older Saudi women, with little known about their Quality of Life (QoL). This study explores the QoL of older unmarried Saudi women by analysing their family relationships, social lives and daily activities. It examines how family relationships, social integration, health and financial aspects are influenced by social policies and gender-related issues. The study is based on in-depth interviews with a purposive sample of 50 widowed, divorced and never-married women aged 60-75 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from a range of socio-economic classes; 25 lived alone and 25 lived in inter-generational households. Gender segregation was a decisive factor that adversely affected the QoL of interviewees. They were dependent on their family or maids socially, instrumentally, and some financially on the ‘Goodwill’ of their children or relatives. Older divorced women were particularly likely to experience financial and social problems. Lower class and many middle class older women who lived alone were dissatisfied and suffered from depression, isolation and loneliness, whereas higher class women living alone demonstrated greater autonomy, independence and life satisfaction. Most interviewees had poor health and multiple chronic diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, which are linked to their socially and geographically restricted lives. Also, urbanization and associated cultural changes have adversely affected their QoL. Gender segregation driven by ultra-conservative patriarchy has resulted in the economic and social dependency and restricted lives of older unmarried Saudi women. State intervention is needed to improve the general situation of older women, such as establishing care homes, increasing social insurance income and providing medical insurance.
Supervisor: Arber, Sara ; Hodkinson, Paul Sponsor: King Abdulaziz University Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available