Never-married older adults: gender differences in life satisfaction

Abbott, Krista L.
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University of Guelph

This study examined gender differences with respect to life satisfaction among never-married older adults. Two data sets were utilized; data taken from the 1990 General Social Survey 'Family and Friends' are the main focus of the study, whereas data obtained from a second study, ' The Never Married in Later Life' (1991), were used selectively in the discussion for interpretive purposes. Five measures which are seen as contributing to overall life satisfaction were examined: satisfaction with family, satisfaction with friends, satisfaction with occupation/main activity, satisfaction with single status and general happiness level. Results indicate that both men and women are highly satisfied with all domains. The measurement of satisfaction with family resulted in the only significant gender difference; women are significantly more satisfied with family than are men. A life span theoretical framework, Selective Optimization with Compensation, is used as a conceptual tool to interpret the results of the study.

Older adults, Never-married, Gender differences, Life satisfaction, General Social Survey