Understanding the structure, experiences and challenges of social support for older lesbian, gay and bisexual people: a systematic review

Hawthorne, Oliver, Camic, Paul M. and Rimes, K. (2018) Understanding the structure, experiences and challenges of social support for older lesbian, gay and bisexual people: a systematic review. Ageing & Society. ISSN 0144-686X.

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The psychosocial contexts of older lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) individuals suggest that they may face unique strengths and barriers in accessing social support. The present review aimed to explore what is known about this by providing a synthesis of this area of research and a methodological critique. ASSIA, Psychinfo and Medline data bases were searched and twenty-two relevant articles were identified. Key findings were extracted and quality was assessed using a standardised rating scale.

The findings indicated that although many older LGB people report similar sized support networks to older heterosexuals, more support came from friends and less from biological family members. Many reported not receiving enough support; it is possible that differences in caregiving between friends and family and anticipated social support difficulties due to previous LGB-stigma experiences partially account for this. Current recruitment strategies may mean that more connected older LGB people are over-represented in research. There is a lack of research with the “old-old” population, bisexual people, those with significant health needs, those outside of the USA and those with additional characteristics associated with discrimination. Practical and research implications are discussed and it is suggested that friendship-carer dyads may need support to have more explicit discussions about caregiving roles due to a lack of societal templates for these kinds of relationships.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0636 Applied psychology
H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC1390 Education of special classes of persons > LC2574 Gays. Lesbians. Bisexuals
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology > Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
Depositing User: Prof Paul M Camic
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2018 14:17
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2018 13:30
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/17560

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