2.50
Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10755/150210
Type:
Presentation
Title:
Riding the Waves: Midlife Women's Narratives of Living Alone
Abstract:
Riding the Waves: Midlife Women's Narratives of Living Alone
Conference Sponsor:Sigma Theta Tau International
Conference Year:2001
Conference Date:November 10 - 14, 2001
Author:Segraves, Mary, MS/MSc
P.I. Institution Name:Boston College
Title:Graduate Teaching Assistant
Connectedness with others has been found to be important to women's health and well-being, but may be more difficult or of a different value for women who live alone. Perhaps women who live alone define themselves less in terms of connectedness or maintain connectedness in ways that are not fully understood. The purposes of this study were: 1) to describe women's definitions of themselves; 2) to identify the role of connections in relation to self; and 3) to describe self definition in relation to well being. Design and Method: A qualitative interpretive approach was used to examine the role of connections and well-being in 21 middle-aged women who lived alone. Two approaches were combined in an attempt to order the historical, situational and chronological contexts of the participants' experience. Combining approaches was helpful to uncover the women's priorities in their narratives while isolating and clarifying thematic messages. A total of 21 women between 39 and 65 years (mean age=49.6 yrs.) of diverse backgrounds participated in the study. The average length of time living alone was 10.9 years. Participants were asked to write a narrative about their experiences living alone. Two interviews were conducted to expand on themes uncovered in the written narrative; data were analyzed using van Manen's phenomenology and Riessmann's narrative analysis. Findings and Conclusions: Four major themes described the experience of living alone: 1) Riding the waves: Time alone could generate creativity and well being, but could also present social and practical difficulties; 2) The internal gyroscope for psychic equilibrium: Creating flexible boundaries; 3) Like a steeping pot of tea: Narratives of life experiences shape the past, present and future; and 4) With or without a safety net: Aging changes women's range of options. Although the participants had adjusted to living alone and were able balance time alone with social time, they identified what they thought was missing in their lives. The women described various situations that intensified their sense of aloneness. Spending free time meaningfully was seen as a distinct advantage, yet having too much free time reinforced feelings of aloneness. Participants felt connected to friends, family and community, although the nature of those relationships was continually shifting. Participants with pets felt they had constant companionship and affection; however, pets were not substitutes for the sharing and connecting with others. When projecting into the future, participants' vision of living alone seemed more challenging than at present especially related to health status and financial stability. Uncertainty about current employment status and the possibility of age discrimination increased their awareness of societal preoccupation with youthfulness and led to concerns regarding current policy. Implications: Nurses' awareness of the emotional and financial implications of aging for women who lack the security of a partner's assistance or health insurance will lead to a deeper understanding of a woman's life context. Given the changing nature of women's support networks, evaluating support systems can help to identify connections that enhance the health and well being of women who live alone.
Repository Posting Date:
26-Oct-2011
Date of Publication:
10-Nov-2001
Sponsors:
Sigma Theta Tau International

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.typePresentationen_GB
dc.titleRiding the Waves: Midlife Women's Narratives of Living Aloneen_GB
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10755/150210-
dc.description.abstract<table><tr><td colspan="2" class="item-title">Riding the Waves: Midlife Women's Narratives of Living Alone</td></tr><tr class="item-sponsor"><td class="label">Conference Sponsor:</td><td class="value">Sigma Theta Tau International</td></tr><tr class="item-year"><td class="label">Conference Year:</td><td class="value">2001</td></tr><tr class="item-conference-date"><td class="label">Conference Date:</td><td class="value">November 10 - 14, 2001</td></tr><tr class="item-author"><td class="label">Author:</td><td class="value">Segraves, Mary, MS/MSc</td></tr><tr class="item-institute"><td class="label">P.I. Institution Name:</td><td class="value">Boston College</td></tr><tr class="item-author-title"><td class="label">Title:</td><td class="value">Graduate Teaching Assistant</td></tr><tr class="item-email"><td class="label">Email:</td><td class="value">segrean@worldnet.att.net</td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" class="item-abstract">Connectedness with others has been found to be important to women's health and well-being, but may be more difficult or of a different value for women who live alone. Perhaps women who live alone define themselves less in terms of connectedness or maintain connectedness in ways that are not fully understood. The purposes of this study were: 1) to describe women's definitions of themselves; 2) to identify the role of connections in relation to self; and 3) to describe self definition in relation to well being. Design and Method: A qualitative interpretive approach was used to examine the role of connections and well-being in 21 middle-aged women who lived alone. Two approaches were combined in an attempt to order the historical, situational and chronological contexts of the participants' experience. Combining approaches was helpful to uncover the women's priorities in their narratives while isolating and clarifying thematic messages. A total of 21 women between 39 and 65 years (mean age=49.6 yrs.) of diverse backgrounds participated in the study. The average length of time living alone was 10.9 years. Participants were asked to write a narrative about their experiences living alone. Two interviews were conducted to expand on themes uncovered in the written narrative; data were analyzed using van Manen's phenomenology and Riessmann's narrative analysis. Findings and Conclusions: Four major themes described the experience of living alone: 1) Riding the waves: Time alone could generate creativity and well being, but could also present social and practical difficulties; 2) The internal gyroscope for psychic equilibrium: Creating flexible boundaries; 3) Like a steeping pot of tea: Narratives of life experiences shape the past, present and future; and 4) With or without a safety net: Aging changes women's range of options. Although the participants had adjusted to living alone and were able balance time alone with social time, they identified what they thought was missing in their lives. The women described various situations that intensified their sense of aloneness. Spending free time meaningfully was seen as a distinct advantage, yet having too much free time reinforced feelings of aloneness. Participants felt connected to friends, family and community, although the nature of those relationships was continually shifting. Participants with pets felt they had constant companionship and affection; however, pets were not substitutes for the sharing and connecting with others. When projecting into the future, participants' vision of living alone seemed more challenging than at present especially related to health status and financial stability. Uncertainty about current employment status and the possibility of age discrimination increased their awareness of societal preoccupation with youthfulness and led to concerns regarding current policy. Implications: Nurses' awareness of the emotional and financial implications of aging for women who lack the security of a partner's assistance or health insurance will lead to a deeper understanding of a woman's life context. Given the changing nature of women's support networks, evaluating support systems can help to identify connections that enhance the health and well being of women who live alone.</td></tr></table>en_GB
dc.date.available2011-10-26T10:19:02Z-
dc.date.issued2001-11-10en_GB
dc.date.accessioned2011-10-26T10:19:02Z-
dc.description.sponsorshipSigma Theta Tau Internationalen_GB
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