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ERIC Number: ED276927
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Aug-23
Pages: 33
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Illness and Women's Aging.
Furstenberg, Anne-Linda
When a woman defines herself as old is a complex phenomenon reflecting, among other variables, cultural attitudes, environmental constraints, and health status. In the later years, self-perceived age lags behind chronological age, but alters with the progressive contracting of life space, changes in health status, and decreases in perceived control. This paper summarizes an ethnographic study of women's experiences with ill health, their subjective meaning for the women, their impact on lifestyle and functioning, and their influence on age self-concept. Interviews were conducted with 11 women over age 65. Most of the women interviewed saw their age as discrepant with the way that they felt. Consistent with past research, the women referred to chronological age, mental functioning, and physical health and functioning as the bases for their perceptions of their own age. Perceptions of changes in the appearance of their bodies also affected the perceptions of the age of some of these women. Adaptive strategies used by the women in the face of these changes included activism in the pursuit and maintenance of health, conscious decisions to change priorities, and appreciation of the wisdom they gleaned from their years of experience. The ethnographic research strategy reveals the complexity of the process of changing one's age self-concept. (Author/NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (94th, Washington, DC, August 22-26, 1986).