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Bildtgård, TorbjörnORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0001-6096-2752
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Publications (10 of 26) Show all publications
Bildtgård, T. & Öberg, P. (2017). Intimacy and Ageing: New Relationships in Later Life. Bristol: Policy Press
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Intimacy and Ageing: New Relationships in Later Life
2017 (English)Book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

To begin new relationships in later life is increasingly common in large parts of the Western world. This timely book addresses the gap in knowledge about late life repartnering and provides a comprehensive map of the changing landscape of late life intimacy.

Part of the Ageing in a Global Context series, the book examines the changing structural conditions of intimacy and ageing in late modernity. How do longer lives, changing norms and new technologies affect older people’s relationship careers, their attitudes to repartnering and in the formation of new relationships? Which forms do these new unions take? What does a new intimate relationship offer older men and women and what are the consequences for social integration? What is the role and meaning of sex?

By introducing a gains-perspective the book challenges stereotypes of old age as a period of loss and decline. It also challenges the image of older people as conservative, and instead presents them as an avant-garde that often experiment with new ways of being together. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bristol: Policy Press, 2017. p. 212
Series
Ageing in a Global Context
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-23379 (URN)9781447326496 (ISBN)
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2009-0720Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11: 0909–1
Available from: 2017-01-26 Created: 2017-01-26 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
Bildtgård, T. & Öberg, P. (2017). New intimate relationships in later life: consequences for the social and filial network?. Journal of Family Issues, 38(3), 381-405
Open this publication in new window or tab >>New intimate relationships in later life: consequences for the social and filial network?
2017 (English)In: Journal of Family Issues, ISSN 0192-513X, E-ISSN 1552-5481, Vol. 38, no 3, p. 381-405Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study is to investigate the consequences for linked lives of entering into new intimate relationships in later life. The empirical data is based on qualitative interviews with 28 Swedes aged 63 to 91 years, who have established a new intimate relationship after the age of 60 years or are currently dating. Theories on linked lives and individualization are used. The results show that children were generally supportive of their older parents’ unions and older individuals were often integrated into the new partner’s network. However, a new union also restructured the relationship chain so that time and energy were redirected to the new partner. Older parents preferred to be dependent on partners rather than children/others. A new partner was described as a source for autonomy and a way of “unburdening” children. Results are discussed in light of Western individualism generally and Swedish state supported individualism in particular.

Keywords
Autonomy, later life, linked lives, new intimate relationships, relationship chain
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-20449 (URN)10.1177/0192513X15579503 (DOI)000391800900005 ()2-s2.0-85008877392 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2009-00720
Available from: 2015-10-21 Created: 2015-10-21 Last updated: 2019-10-04Bibliographically approved
Öberg, P. & Bildtgård, T. (2016). Initiation and development of new intimate relationships in later life. Paper presented at 2016 GSA Annual Scientific Meeting, November 16-20, 2016, New Orleans, Louisiana. The Gerontologist, 56(Suppl. 3), 17-18, Article ID Suppl. 3.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Initiation and development of new intimate relationships in later life
2016 (English)In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 56, no Suppl. 3, p. 17-18, article id Suppl. 3Article in journal, Meeting abstract (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

According to contemporary family theory late modern relationships are guided less be external norms and more by internal negotiation between relatively equal partners. The purpose of this paper is to study initiation and development of new intimate relationships in later life, with a focus on negotiation and change, based on relationship histories with older Swedes (n=28), who are currently in new late in life cross-gender relationships initiated 60+, or currently dating singles. The results show a paradox: relationship ideals often seem unchangeable in prospect, but actual relationship arrangements appear open and changeable, when described in retrospect. LATs recall having been determined not to initiate any new relationships, cohabitants to retain their own home, remarried informants never to marry again. The analysis focuses the negotiations leading to relationship change. We discuss and question prevailing implicit assumptions about older people’s relationships as non-negotiated and unchangeable.

National Category
Geriatrics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-23274 (URN)000388585000068 ()
Conference
2016 GSA Annual Scientific Meeting, November 16-20, 2016, New Orleans, Louisiana
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2009 0720
Available from: 2017-01-10 Created: 2017-01-10 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
Öberg, P. & Bildtgård, T. (2016). Partner-age in late life unions - ideals vs realities. Paper presented at 2016 GSA Annual Scientific Meeting,November 16-20, 2016, New Orleans, Louisiana. The Gerontologist, 56(3), 732-732, Article ID Suppl. 3.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Partner-age in late life unions - ideals vs realities
2016 (English)In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 56, no 3, p. 732-732, article id Suppl. 3Article in journal, Meeting abstract (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Age homo/heterogamy in romantic unions is given little attention in current gerontological research. Still partner age-differences are important for men’s and women’s relationship opportunities. This paper studies actual partner-age (age-difference) in cross-gendered unions, and ideal partner-age both for singles and respondents in unions. The study was carried out by a survey to 60–90 year old Swedes, currently either singles or in a cross-gender relationship (married, cohabiting, LAT) (n=1225). Unions follow a traditionally gendered age structure: 56% of men, but only 16% of women have a younger partner. This pattern is more pronounced: in first unions (p<.001) and unions initiated before 1970 (p<.01). For respondents in unions actual partner-age showed no significant correlation with union form or urbanity (modernity-hypothesis), and not with education or income (power-hypothesis). For respondents in unions Ideal Partner-Age correlates strongly (p<.001; R2=0,76) with actual partner-age (ideal slightly younger). Among single respondents, almost all (92%) single men and half of the single women (47%) prefer a younger partner (8,9 years younger on average for men; 2,2 for women). The proportion preferring a younger partner increases by age, leading to increasingly incompatible age ideals. Results will be discussed in relation to life-course theory; gender and power; the deinstitutionalization hypothesis.

National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-23273 (URN)000388585003441 ()
Conference
2016 GSA Annual Scientific Meeting,November 16-20, 2016, New Orleans, Louisiana
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0909:1
Available from: 2017-01-10 Created: 2017-01-10 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
Öberg, P., Bildtgård, T. & Andersson, L. (2016). Skyddar en parrelation på äldre dar mot ensamhet?. Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift, 23(1), 19-36
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Skyddar en parrelation på äldre dar mot ensamhet?
2016 (Swedish)In: Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift, ISSN 1104-1420, Vol. 23, no 1, p. 19-36Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this article is to study the importance of intimate relationships as protection from loneliness in later life. We base ourselves on a survey to Swedes aged 60–90 (n=1 225) focusing on intimate relationships. The analysis considers neglected issues in ageing research on loneliness: the importance of union form, the importance of looking at relationship dissolution in terms of both widowhood and divorce, and the importance of new late life unions (a gains perspective). We use two theoretical perspectives: the discrepancy model (realities vs. ideals), and the protection hypothesis, where the partner is generally the first and most important source of support in everyday life. The results show that a partner protects against loneliness and that union form matters: marriage provides the best protection, followed by cohabitation and Living Apart Together (LAT). Feelings of loneliness decrease over time following a union dissolution – and, for men, more rapidly after separation than widowhood. The more the ideal union form differs from one’s actual union form, the more common are feelings of loneliness. Initiating a new relationship after a union dissolution protects against loneliness. The article discusses the importance of using union form instead of civil status as relationship indicators in studies of older people in late modern Sweden, and of including separation/divorce as indicators of union dissolution besides widowhood. It also stresses the importance of looking at later life not only from a loss – but also from a gains – perspective.

National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-22550 (URN)
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0909:1
Note

Embargo 1 år för elektronisk tillgång.

Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
Öberg, P. & Bildtgård, T. (2015). Changing Union Forms Among Older People in Late Modern Sweden. In: Aging Families/Changing Families: . Paper presented at Aging Families/Changing Families: An International Conference, 3-6 June 2015, Syracuse (NY), USA.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Changing Union Forms Among Older People in Late Modern Sweden
2015 (English)In: Aging Families/Changing Families, 2015Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper focuses on union form in cross-gender relationships in later life, against the background of the transformation of intimacy in late modernity. Results are based on a survey to 60–90 year old Swedes (n=1225; response rate 42%) and European census data. Sweden seems to be the only country where there are more divorced than widowed people in this age group. Almost 1/3 of Swedes, aged 60-90, categorized as “singles” by official Swedish census data on civil status, are in fact living as LATs or cohabitants. In new romantic relationships initiated 60+ the dominant union form is LAT (70%) followed by cohabitation (26%), while marriage is rare (4%). Less than 2 in 10 singles think that is important to be married – and among marrieds less than 8 in 10. Relationship history data shows that although half of the respondents have been married only once, one third (33%) have had 2+ cohabiting unions (marital/non-marital), half (46%) 2+ established relationships, and a majority (66%) 3+ sexual partners. The results indicate that the transformation of intimacy includes older Swedes. Discussion: Should we see older people as a vanguard in the exploration of late modern intimacy, rather than carriers of cultural lag?

Keywords
later life, cross-gender relationsship, intimacy, late modernity
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-20798 (URN)
Conference
Aging Families/Changing Families: An International Conference, 3-6 June 2015, Syracuse (NY), USA
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0909:1
Note

Ingår i Session8: New Forms of Partnerships in Later Life.

Available from: 2015-12-08 Created: 2015-12-08 Last updated: 2018-12-03Bibliographically approved
Bildtgård, T. & Öberg, P. (2015). Förändrade intimitetsformer bland äldre i det senmoderna samhället [Changing forms of intimacy among older people in late modern society]. Sociologisk forskning, 52(1), 5-31
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Förändrade intimitetsformer bland äldre i det senmoderna samhället [Changing forms of intimacy among older people in late modern society]
2015 (Swedish)In: Sociologisk forskning, ISSN 0038-0342, Vol. 52, no 1, p. 5-31Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this paper is to draw attention to a neglected reality in Swedish social research: New romantic relationships in later life. Our theoretical points of departure are the transformation of intimacy and the transition from a culture of marriage to a culture of divorce. We ask if the transformation of intimacy has reached later life and investigate late life divorce, attitudes to and choice of union form in late life heterosexual relationships, relationship history and the importance of a relationship for life satisfaction. The results, which are based both on demographic data and a survey to 60-90 year old Swedes (n=1225), show that changing relationship patterns in late modern Sweden have reached older people. In romantic relationships initiated in later life LAT is the preferred union form, followed by cohabitation, while marriage is a rare choice. In some respects this makes older people an avant-garde in the investigation of alternative union forms. The results also show the importance of romantic relationships for life satisfaction in later life independent of union form. Finally we criticize Swedish census data, which is based on civil status, for giving a somewhat distorted image of older people's family and romantic lives.

Keywords
divorce culture, late modern Sweden, later life, new romantic relationships, older people, transformation of intimacy, union forms
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-19407 (URN)000353178600002 ()2-s2.0-84928984379 (Scopus ID)
Projects
Nya intima relationer på äldre dar - förändrade intimitetsformer i det senmoderna samhället
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0909:1
Available from: 2015-05-28 Created: 2015-05-28 Last updated: 2018-12-03Bibliographically approved
Bildtgård, T. & Öberg, P. (2015). Gendered Ideals vs. Realities for Partner-Age Unions in Later Life. In: Aging Families/Changing Families: . Paper presented at Aging Families/Changing Families: An International Conference, 3-6 June 2015, Syracuse, (NY), USA.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gendered Ideals vs. Realities for Partner-Age Unions in Later Life
2015 (English)In: Aging Families/Changing Families, 2015Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper focuses on actual and ideal partner-age among older Swedes, from a gender perspective on age-homo/heterogamy. The paper is based on a survey to 60–90 year old Swedes, currently either singles or in a cross-gender relationship (married, cohabiting, LAT) (n=1225; response rate 42%). All analyses were made also separately for men and women. Results: Unions tend to follow a traditionally gendered age structure: 56% of men but only 16% of women have a younger partner. This age-pattern is more pronounced for those: in first unions (p<.001); in unions initiated before the 1970s (p<.01). There was no significant variation with union form or urbanity (modernity), and not with either education or income (power resources). Ideal partner-age correlates strongly (p<.001; R2=0,76) with actual partner-age for respondents in unions (ideal only slightly younger). Single men and women are freer to envision a younger partner: almost all (92%) single men and half of the single women (47%) prefer a younger partner (8,9 years younger on average for men; 2,2 for women). The proportion preferring a younger partner increases by age, leading to increasingly incompatible age ideals. The results will be discussed in relation to life-course theory; gender and power; the deinstitutionalization hypothesis.

National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-20800 (URN)
Conference
Aging Families/Changing Families: An International Conference, 3-6 June 2015, Syracuse, (NY), USA
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0909:1
Note

Ingår i Session4: Filial Norms, Ideals, and Exchanges in Later Life.

Available from: 2015-12-08 Created: 2015-12-08 Last updated: 2018-12-03Bibliographically approved
Bildtgård, T. & Öberg, P. (2015). Union Form in Late Life Intimate Relationships: A Question of Age, Period or Cohort?. In: Aging Families/Changing Families: . Paper presented at Aging Families/Changing Families: An International Conference, 3-6 June 2015, Syracuse (NY), USA.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Union Form in Late Life Intimate Relationships: A Question of Age, Period or Cohort?
2015 (English)In: Aging Families/Changing Families, 2015Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Family theory has suggested a radical transformation of intimacy in large parts of the Western world over the last 50 years. Given this development, how can we best explain union form in older people’s relationships: In terms of the traditional values they were brought up with (cohort)? In terms of the historical context in which the relationships were initiated (period)? Or in terms of the life-phase in which the relationships were initiated (age)? All of these hypothesis have been suggested by prior research. In this paper we discuss these respective arguments, basing ourselves on results from a quantitative survey of 60–90 year old Swedes (response rate 42%), focusing a subset of respondents (n=702) who are currently either married, cohabiting or LAT. A logistic regression showed no significant support for the cohort hypothesis. It gives strong support for the historical hypothesis – union form is significantly explained by the year the relationship was initiated. It also gives significant support to the life phase hypothesis – older people tend to prefer LAT relationships – but only after the historical normative context allow it. The results are discussed in relation to explanations suggested by earlier research regarding union form in older couples.

Keywords
intimacy, union form, life phase, old couples
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-20801 (URN)
Conference
Aging Families/Changing Families: An International Conference, 3-6 June 2015, Syracuse (NY), USA
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0909:1
Note

Ingår i Session12: Long-Term Marriages and Partnership Dynamics.

Available from: 2015-12-08 Created: 2015-12-08 Last updated: 2018-12-03Bibliographically approved
Bildtgard, T. & Öberg, P. (2014). Changing sexual pracitices in intimate relationships in later life - a life course perspective. Paper presented at GSA 2014, 67th Annual Scientific Meeting of The Gerontological Society of America, 5-9 November 2014, Washington, USA. The Gerontologist, 54(Suppl. 2), 76-76
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Changing sexual pracitices in intimate relationships in later life - a life course perspective
2014 (English)In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 54, no Suppl. 2, p. 76-76Article in journal, Meeting abstract (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

In late modernity sex has escaped its reproductive cage and people form pure relationships, based on mutual satisfaction (Giddens). Ironically, although older people are per definition non-reproductive, they have been neglected in studies on sexuality. The aim is to study sexual attitudes and practices among older people in life-course perspective. We present results from 1) a qualitative interview study with 28 63–91 year old Swedes currently dating or in a relationship (married, cohabiting, LAT) initiated 60+ and 2) a quantitative survey including 1225 60–90 year old Swedes (response rate 42%). The interviews revealed a normative change, from condemnation of extra-marital sex in young adulthood to encouragement of sexual relationships but not marriage in later life. Despite restrictive norms, the survey showed a majority (93%) had had their sexual debut before marriage. All informants had experienced the 1960’s sexual liberation and today liberal attitudes seem to encompass later life. Most had had rather active sexual lives. Half or the survey respondents had had ≥4 more sexual partners, and one in five ≥10. Today, an active sex-life was regarded as important for a good relationship. Many informants had interpreted sexual decline as “natural” and age-related, but re-discovered sexuality with their new partner. The survey confirmed relationship length as a better predictor of sexual activity than age. Cohort and period effects will be discussed. It has been argued that sexual practices will become more liberal in the future by cohort replacement. Our data indicates that “the future might already be here”.

Keywords
relationships, later life, intimate relationships, 60+, later life
National Category
Social Work Geriatrics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-19076 (URN)000346337501076 ()
Conference
GSA 2014, 67th Annual Scientific Meeting of The Gerontological Society of America, 5-9 November 2014, Washington, USA
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0909:1Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2009 0720
Available from: 2015-03-06 Created: 2015-03-06 Last updated: 2018-12-03Bibliographically approved
Projects
New intimate relations in later life - a quantitative survey [P11-0909:1_RJ]; University of Gävle; Publications
Bildtgård, T. & Öberg, P. (2013). Attitudes, experiences and expectations on new intimate relationships in later life: results from a Swedish national survey. Paper presented at 20th IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, June 23-27 2013, Seoul, Korea. The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, 17(Suppl. 1), 109Bildtgård, T. & Öberg, P. (2013). New sexual relationships in later life: the case of late modern Sweden. Paper presented at Gerontological Society of America's 66th Annual Scientific Meeting, 20-24 November, New Orleans, USA. The Gerontologist, 53(Suppl.), 300-300Öberg, P. & Bildtgård, T. (2013). The impact of new intimate relationships in later life on life satisfaction. Paper presented at Gerontological Society of America 66th Annual Scientific Meeting, 20-24 November 2013, New Orleans, USA. The Gerontologist, 53(Suppl. 1), 61-61
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0001-6096-2752

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