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Journal article Full text available online for free

Is loneliness in later life a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Authors:
PIKHARTOVAA Jitka, BOWLING Ann, VICTOR Christina
Journal article citation:
Aging and Mental Health, 20(5), 2016, pp.543-549.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis

Objectives: There are many stereotypes about ageing and later life. The authors looked at the association between expectations and stereotyping of loneliness in old age and actual self-reported loneliness status 8 years later in English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). Method: Data from 4465 ELSA core members aged over 50 who responded to Waves 2 (2004) did not report loneliness in Wave 2, and responded to loneliness questions at least once between Waves 3 and 6 (2006–2012) were used in multivariable repeated measures logit regression analysis to estimate relationship between perceived stereotypes and expectation of loneliness in older age and actual loneliness reported within 8 years of follow-up. Results: Twenty-four per cent of respondents from the analytical sample agreed at Wave 2 that old age is time of loneliness and 33% expected to be lonely in old age. Loneliness was reported by 11.5% of respondents at Waves 3–6. Both stereotypes and expectation were significantly associated with later reported loneliness (OR 2.65 (95% CI 2.05–3.42) for stereotypes and 2.98 (95% CI 2.33–3.75) for expectations in age-sex adjusted analysis). Both variables significantly predicted future loneliness even when socio-demographic circumstances were taken into account and both variables were mutually adjusted although the effect was reduced (OR's 1.53 (95% CI 1.16–2.01) for stereotypes and 2.38 (95% CI 1.84–3.07) for expectations). Conclusions: Stereotypes and expectations related to loneliness in the old age were significantly associated with reported loneliness 8 years later. Interventions aimed at changing age-related stereotypes in population may have more impact on reducing loneliness than individually based services.

Journal article

Enhancing later life: how older people perceive active ageing?

Author:
BOWLING Ann
Journal article citation:
Aging and Mental Health, 12(3), May 2008, pp.293-301.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis

This article aimed to identify older people's perceptions of active ageing, and to compare them with the literature, and with older people's perceptions of successful ageing and quality of life. Face-to-face interview survey with 337 people aged 65+ living at home in Britain.  The most common perceptions of active ageing were having/maintaining physical health and functioning (43%), leisure and social activities (34%), mental functioning and activity (18%) and social relationships and contacts (15%). A third rated themselves as ageing 'Very actively', and almost half as 'Fairly actively'. Independent predictors of positive self-rated active ageing were optimum health and quality of life. Main sub-themes of active ageing included exercising the body and mind in order to maintain health and functioning. People's views focussed on basic definitions such as social, physical and mental health and activity, probably reflecting the novelty of the concept to them, thereby excluding frail older people from active ageing. Comparisons with definitions of successful ageing and quality of life showed overlap, but the latter were portrayed as 'states of being'. This is consistent with models which propose quality of life as the end-point of active ageing.

Journal article

Caring for the elderly widowed: the burden on their supporters

Author:
BOWLING Ann
Journal article citation:
British Journal of Social Work, 14(5), October 1984, pp.435-455.
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

Study of the effects on carers, mainly women, of the death of their fathers and of caring for their mothers.

Book Full text available online for free

Quality of life: measures and meanings in social care research

Author:
BOWLING Ann
Publisher:
NIHR School for Social Care Research
Publication year:
2014
Pagination:
27
Place of publication:
London

This review provides an overview of the measurement of quality of life (QoL) in social care, or social care-related QoL. Because the field is wide, this overview focuses on older people. Outcome can be complex to measure in social care, because several types of outcomes of both the user and any family carers may be relevant; these may also be affected by multiple factors. Measuring quality of life is one of several components for assessing the effectiveness of interventions. Maintaining people’s broader quality of life is also a potentially important outcome to consider ensuring that the person can ‘live well’ and that their care and support up until their death meets their needs. In reflection of the wider goals and provision of social care, compared to health care, client-based outcome measures need to be more multidimensional than narrower health-related or disease- related QoL measures reflecting the impact of circumstances and interventions on users’ wider lives. However, given overall lack of agreement on concepts or measures of social care and QoL outcomes, investigators have tended to use separate measures of social involvement and/or life satisfaction as indicators of QoL as well as measures of morale, health status, anxiety/depression, physical functioning, and needs. There has been a heavy emphasis on health status, physical and mental functioning. There are also several technical issues to consider when choosing and administering a measure of QoL. These are described but are not intended to be daunting to the researcher. Few measures satisfy all psychometric criteria perfectly. This overview is intended to be an informative summary of the main steps involved in selecting and testing a measurement scale. (Edited publisher abstract)

Journal article

Attributes of age-identity

Authors:
BOWLING Ann, et al
Journal article citation:
Ageing and Society, 25(4), July 2005, pp.479-500.
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press

Chronological age can be an unsatisfactory method of discriminating between older people. The lay concept of how old people actually feel may be more useful. The aim of the analyses reported in this paper was to investigate indicators of age-identity (or subjective age) among a national random sample of people aged 65 or more years living at home in Britain. Information was initially collected by home interview and a follow-up postal questionnaire 12–18 months later. The age that respondents felt was a more sensitive indicator than chronological age of many indicators of the respondents’ health, psychological and social characteristics. Multiple regression analysis showed that baseline health and functional status, and reported changes in these at follow-up, explained 20.4 per cent of the variance in self-perceived age. Adding baseline mental health (anxiety/depression), feelings and fears about ageing at follow-up explained a further 0.8 per cent of the variance, making the total variance explained 21.2 per cent. It is concluded that measures of physical health and functional status and their interactions influenced age-identity. Mental health status and psychological perceptions made a small but significant additional contribution.

Journal article

Quality of life from the perspectives of older people

Authors:
GABRIEL Zahava, BOWLING Ann
Journal article citation:
Ageing and Society, 24(5), September 2004, pp.675-691.
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press

This paper report results from a national survey of quality of life (QoL), based on 999 people aged 65 or more years living in private households in Britain. The study produced both qualitative and quantitative interview data. The 999 survey respondents were interviewed in their own homes with a semi-structured survey instrument, and 80 were followed-up in greater depth at one and two years after the baseline interview. The material from the in-depth interviews is presented here. The main QoL themes that emerged were: having good social relationships, help and support; living in a home and neighbourhood that is perceived to give pleasure, feels safe, is neighbourly and has access to local facilities and services including transport; engaging in hobbies and leisure activities (solo) as well as maintaining social activities and retaining a role in society; having a positive psychological outlook and acceptance of circumstances which cannot be changed; having good health and mobility; and having enough money to meet basic needs, to participate in society, to enjoy life and to retain one's independence and control over life. The results have implications for public policy, and supplement the growing body of knowledge on the composition and measurement of quality of life in older age.

Book

Living well into old age: three studies of health and well-being among older people in East London and Essex

Authors:
BOWLING Ann, GRUNDY Emily, FARQUHAR Morag
Publisher:
Age Concern
Publication year:
1997
Pagination:
64p.,tables,diags.,bibliog.
Place of publication:
London

Report exploring the concept of 'successful ageing' and summarising the results of research conducted over a three year period with older people in Hackney and Braintree in Essex. Documents and analyses changes in physical and mental health, the ability to perform the tasks of daily living, and the use of social services and offers new evidence of the problems of old age, and the factors which can contribute to well-being.

Journal article

Gender-specific and gender-sensitive associations with psychological health and morbidity in older age. Baseline findings from a British population survey of ageing

Author:
BOWLING Ann
Journal article citation:
Aging and Mental Health, 11(3), May 2007, pp.301-309.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis

This study aimed to examine gender-specific and gender-sensitive factors associated with psychological health and morbidity. The study used a face-to-face home interview survey of random sample of 999 people aged 65 and over living in Britain. A fifth of respondents had symptoms of psychological morbidity. Men with high self-efficacy had over six times the odds of men with lower levels, of scoring as a non-case with the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Women with excellent to good health status had over five times the odds of those in worse health of scoring as a non-case. Self-efficacy and mobility were the strongest independent predictive variables of GHQ score among men; health status and subjective QoL were the strongest, independent predictors among women. Discussion: This paper is unique in examining in detail the independent, gender-specific and gender-sensitive predictors of psychological morbidity in a national random sample of older adults. Optimism, self-efficacy, quality of life and mobility were gender-specific predictors, and health status was a gender-sensitive predictor of psychological morbidity. These differences suggest that interventions aiming to improve the mental health outcomes of older people need to be guided by evidence on risk factors by gender.

Book

Ageing well: quality of life in old age

Author:
BOWLING Ann
Publisher:
Open University Press
Publication year:
2005
Pagination:
273p., bibliog.
Place of publication:
Maidenhead

This book explores concepts of quality of life in older age in the theoretical literature and presents the views of a national sample of people aged sixty- five years or older. It offers a broad overview of the quality of life experienced by older people in Britain using a number of wide ranging indicators, including: health hobbies and interests; home and neighbourhood; income independence; psychological wellbeing; and social and family relationships.

Journal article

Associations with changes in life satisfaction among three samples of elderly people living at home

Authors:
BOWLING Ann, FARQUHAR Morag, GRUNDY Emily
Journal article citation:
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 11(12), December 1996, pp.1077-1087.
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell

Life satisfaction, measured using Neugarten's Life Satisfaction Scale was examined in three samples of elderly people in London and Essex at baseline and at follow-up 2 1/2 - 3 years later. The analysis reported here relate to changes in life satisfaction. The previously reported baseline analyses showed that poor health and functional ability were the strongest predictors of baseline life satisfaction. The results from the follow-up data presented here show that the most significant predictor of changes in life satisfaction at follow-up was baseline life satisfaction. While follow-up health and functional status, social network structure and activities explained the remainder of the explained variance, this was very little. The results are consistent with previous analyses of associations with changes in psychiatric morbidity (mainly depression) and highlight the importance of initiating early rehabilitation programmes.

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