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Duration and accumulation of disadvantages in old age
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Aging Research Center (ARC), (together with KI).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Aging Research Center (ARC), (together with KI).
2015 (English)In: Social Indicators Research, ISSN 0303-8300, E-ISSN 1573-0921, Vol. 123, no 2, 411-429 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The probability of experiencing simultaneous disadvantages in more than one life domain seems to be higher for the oldest old people than younger age groups. However, the experience of coexisting disadvantages among older adults is relatively underexplored. We set out to analyse whether coexisting disadvantages among older people are long-lasting or temporary, and whether there are patterns of an accumulation of disadvantages in old age or not. We used nationally representative, longitudinal data between 1991 and 2011. Respondents were born between 1916 and 1934. The following disadvantages were included: lack of social resources, lack of political resources, lack of financial resources, psychological health problems, physical health problems and mobility limitations. Results suggest differing experiences of disadvantage in old age. We found that reporting coexisting disadvantages in 1991 increased the probability of reporting coexisting disadvantages in 2011, but the correlation was moderate. This indicates that for some people, coexisting disadvantages in old age is relatively stable, while for others it is a temporary experience. Reporting one disadvantage in 1991 also increased the probability of reporting coexisting disadvantages in 2011, suggesting a pattern of accumulation of disadvantages. Again, this pattern may not be generalised to all people. To a large extent the observed accumulation of disadvantages in old age seemed to be driven by physical health deterioration and mobility limitations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 123, no 2, 411-429 p.
Keyword [en]
Oldest old, Ageing, Disadvantage, Health, Longitudinal analysis
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-112578DOI: 10.1007/s11205-014-0744-1ISI: 000360006900006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-112578DiVA: diva2:779442
Available from: 2015-01-12 Created: 2015-01-12 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Living conditions in old age: Coexisting disadvantages across life domains
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Living conditions in old age: Coexisting disadvantages across life domains
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis was to analyse coexisting disadvantages in the older Swedish population. Coexisting disadvantages are those that occur simultaneously in various life domains. A person who simultaneously experiences several disadvantages may be particularly vulnerable and less well-equipped to manage daily life and may also need support from several different welfare service providers. Concerted actions may be needed for older people who experience not only physical health problems and functional limitations, but also other problems. Research that encompasses a wide range of living conditions provides a basis for setting political priorities and making political decisions.

The studies in this thesis used data from two Swedish nationally representative surveys: the Level of Living Survey, which includes people aged 18 through 75, and the Swedish Panel Study of Living Conditions of the Oldest Old, which includes people aged 77 and older.

Study I showed that the probability of experiencing coexisting disadvantages was higher in people 77 and older than in those aged 18 through 76. These age differences were partly driven by a high prevalence of physical health problems in older people. In all age groups, coexisting disadvantages were more common in women than men.

The longitudinal analyses in Study II indicated that coexisting disadvantages in old age persist in some people but are temporary in others. Moreover, the results suggested a pattern of accumulating disadvantages: reporting one disadvantage in young old age (in particular, psychological health problems) increased the probability of reporting coexisting disadvantages in late old age.  

Study III showed that physical health problems were a central component of coexisting disadvantages. The results also showed that being older; female; previously employed as a manual labourer; and divorced/separated, widowed or never married were associated with an increased probability of experiencing coexisting disadvantages. However, the experience of coexisting disadvantages differed: the groups associated with coexisting disadvantages tended to report different combinations of disadvantage.

Study IV showed that the prevalence of coexisting disadvantages in those 77 and older increased slightly between 1992 and 2011. Physical health problems became more common over time, whereas limited ability to manage daily activities (ADL limitations), limited financial resources and limited political resources became less common. Associations between different disadvantages were found in all survey years, but certain associations changed over time. The results suggest that in general, the composition of coexisting disadvantages in the older population may have altered over time.

In sum, results showed that coexisting disadvantages were associated with specific demographic and socio-economic groups. Physical health problems and psychological health problems were of particular importance to the accumulation and coexistence of disadvantages in old age.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Social Work, Stockholm University, 2016
Series
Stockholm studies in social work, ISSN 0281-2851 ; 34
Keyword
Old age, Living conditions, Welfare, Deprivation, Coexisting disadvantages, Inequality, Longitudinal analysis, Trends, Sweden
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-132238 (URN)978-91-7649-472-1 (ISBN)
External cooperation:
Public defence
2016-09-29, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

 

Available from: 2016-09-06 Created: 2016-08-01 Last updated: 2016-08-25Bibliographically approved

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