Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Home as a symbol of the developing self: Case studies of women in late middle age and early old age
by Thompson, Monique, Psy.D., Alliant International University, San Francisco Bay, 2011, 84; 3491620
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation used a case-study analysis approach to investigate women's narratives about their homes during the transition from late middle age to early old age, focusing on how women express personality growth, identity development, and evolving psychosocial concerns (e.g., relationship dynamics, health, career status) in their home narratives. Open-ended narrative accounts of the age 60 to 70 period were obtained from the Mills Longitudinal Study, a 50-year investigation of women who graduated from Mills College in the late 1950s. The narratives that spontaneously mentioned home were coded for several specific themes to investigate how the women experience their homes during this age period. Five case studies provided examples of ways that the home expresses change and growth across the life-span. While 42% of the sample spontaneously mentioned home in their mid-life narrative, the home played a central role in only 25% of these home narratives. Six content themes were identified: (a) home as an expression of partner relationship processes; (b) home as sanctuary for the self; (c) home as an expression of the aging process; (d) home as financial asset or liability; (e) home as axis or anchor for an extended family; and (f) home as expression of the self and psychological growth. While each of the themes were expressed by some of the women, the theme of partner relationship process was most common in the entire sample; home as expression of self and psychological growth was found to be most common among the women for whom the home played a central role in the narrative. The case studies provide further illustration of identity work and life-span development.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor:
Commitee:
School: Alliant International University, San Francisco Bay
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 73/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Womens studies, Aging, Personality psychology
Keywords: Aging, Environmental psychology, Home, Identity, Personal living space, Women
Publication Number: 3491620
ISBN: 9781267094575
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