Same-sex partner bereavement in older women : an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Ingham, Charlotte and Eccles, Fiona Juliet Rosalind and Armitage, Jocelyn Rebecca and Murray, Craig David (2017) Same-sex partner bereavement in older women : an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Aging and Mental Health, 21 (9). pp. 917-925. ISSN 1360-7863

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Objectives: Due to the lack of existing literature, the current research explored experiences of same-sex partner bereavement in women over the age of 60. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight women. Transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results: Three themes were identified which elaborated the experiences of older women who had lost a same-sex partner: (1) being left alone encapsulated feelings of isolation and exclusion; (2) navigating visibility centred on how homophobia led to a lack of recognition of the women's grief; and (3) finding new places to be authentic related women's need for new relationships in which they could be themselves. The findings indicate that existing models of partner bereavement may provide useful frameworks when seeking to understand the experiences of older women who have lost their same-sex partners. Conclusion: The findings indicate that in addition to the experiences of partner bereavement noted in research with heterosexual widows, older women who lose same-sex partners may face particular challenges, which can impact upon psychological well-being and adjustment to loss. These challenges appear to result from past and current homophobic and heterosexist attitudes within the UK culture. A range of interventions at individual, group, health service, and societal levels may be beneficial in improving the psychological well-being of older women who lose a same-sex partner.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Aging and Mental Health
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Aging and Mental Health on 09/04/2016, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? bereavementpsychological well-beinglgbtageingqualitativegerontologygeriatrics and gerontologypsychiatry and mental healthphychiatric mental health ??
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Deposited On:
10 May 2016 08:30
Last Modified:
15 Jan 2024 00:12