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The story continues: persistence of life themes in old age

The story continues: persistence of life themes in old age
The story continues: persistence of life themes in old age
Survivors of a longitudinal study over the age of 80 years were asked whether they saw their lives in terms of story and whether they agreed with our assessment of its present major themes. Two-thirds of the initial sample of 43 people affirmed that their life story was a coherent one in which past and present were connected. Relationships, particularly within the family, were the major source of linkage. One-quarter of the sample, predominantly female members, perceived neither story nor connections but they were not necessarily dissatised with their present lives. Detailed case studies were subsequently composed on the identity processes shown by each person, and their conclusions discussed with the 28 remaining participants two to three years later. The most evident continuing life theme for both men and women was one oriented to the family. Maintenance of independence and own home were also emphasised. The application of McAdams' story model of identity is discussed in relationship to two cases. Implications for research and practice are discussed, including opportunities for older people to construct and present the story of their lives to others.
Identity, story, life themes, continuity, family relationships, independence, own home.
0144-686X
389-419
Coleman, P.G.
1c55586e-c367-470c-b14b-832edb75c0ce
Ivani-Chalian, C.
460944e3-290f-4852-bf0a-647085f9cb98
Robinson, M.
17633612-7540-4a8d-8ce3-a25968457a89
Coleman, P.G.
1c55586e-c367-470c-b14b-832edb75c0ce
Ivani-Chalian, C.
460944e3-290f-4852-bf0a-647085f9cb98
Robinson, M.
17633612-7540-4a8d-8ce3-a25968457a89

Coleman, P.G., Ivani-Chalian, C. and Robinson, M. (1998) The story continues: persistence of life themes in old age. Ageing & Society, 18 (4), 389-419.

Record type: Article

Abstract

Survivors of a longitudinal study over the age of 80 years were asked whether they saw their lives in terms of story and whether they agreed with our assessment of its present major themes. Two-thirds of the initial sample of 43 people affirmed that their life story was a coherent one in which past and present were connected. Relationships, particularly within the family, were the major source of linkage. One-quarter of the sample, predominantly female members, perceived neither story nor connections but they were not necessarily dissatised with their present lives. Detailed case studies were subsequently composed on the identity processes shown by each person, and their conclusions discussed with the 28 remaining participants two to three years later. The most evident continuing life theme for both men and women was one oriented to the family. Maintenance of independence and own home were also emphasised. The application of McAdams' story model of identity is discussed in relationship to two cases. Implications for research and practice are discussed, including opportunities for older people to construct and present the story of their lives to others.

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More information

Published date: 1998
Keywords: Identity, story, life themes, continuity, family relationships, independence, own home.

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 18526
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/18526
ISSN: 0144-686X
PURE UUID: a9aba9f0-6e35-4523-a537-b9a8991172ca

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Date deposited: 09 Dec 2005
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 16:35

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