Understanding the social support of older Lesbian and Gay people

Hawthorne, Oliver (2017) Understanding the social support of older Lesbian and Gay people. D.Clin.Psychol. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.

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Lesbian and gay people are more likely to experience long-term health problems and less likely to have relationships that typically provide informal care. Whilst some researchers have suggested that care is provided by family-of-choice relationships (i.e. a network of very close friendships), there has been no research looking at what determines the organisation of care.

Grounded theory was used to explore what determines the organisation of informal care for older lesbian and gay people with health problems. Fourteen mid-later life lesbian and gay people were interviewed who had experience of providing/receiving care, or running groups for these populations.

Findings suggest that this population experience losses to their network related to their sexuality as well as due to ageing and the impact of their health problem. This means that except for those living with others (partners, ex-partners or housemates), people often experience their care needs being “left to” them. In response, people seek connections or alternatives to support. Support arrangements developed for those living alone tends to be distributed across multiple people. Strategies and attitudes developed from managing being lesbian or gay influence choices and resiliencies in navigating these challenges.

The results suggest that older lesbian and gay people have unique strengths and challenges in accessing care in the context of long-term conditions. Recommendations for research and practice are made, including the need for developing ways of working with distributed care networks and suggestions for supporting clients to use resiliencies developed from experiences of being lesbian and gay.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0636 Applied psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology > Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
Depositing User: Miss Rosemary Cox
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2017 16:09
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2018 12:18
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/16425

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00