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Title [sv]
Nya intima relationer på äldre dar - Förändrade intimitetsformer i det senmoderna samhället
Title [en]
New intimate relations in later life - Changed forms of intimacy in late modern society
Abstract [sv]
Trots att man inom familjesociologin ofta talar om att intimiteten i det senmoderna samhället är befriad från dess barnalstrande funktion och därmed inte begränsad till en viss period i livet, och trots att man inom socialgerontologin ofta hävdar att adderandet av friska år till livet skapat en â?Øtredje ålderâ?Ø av självförverkligande, i vilket intima relationer kan tänkas spela en väsentlig roll, så har mycket litet forskning, både i Sverige och internationellt, intresserat sig för nya intima relationer på äldre dar och den roll de spelar i de äldres liv. Detta trots förändrade demografiska förhållanden där människor både lever längre och nya generationer med potentiellt nya värderingar kommer upp i hög ålder. Det finns i Sverige idag drygt en miljon singlar (ogifta, skilda, änkor/änkemän) i åldrarna 60+, majoriteten kvinnor; och andelen frånskilda äldre ökar. Syftet med den föreslagna studien är att studera attityder till, förväntningar på och erfarenheter av nya intima relationer på äldre dar. Vi kommer att studera de här frågorna både ur ett genusperspektiv och mot bakgrund av biografiska erfarenheter. Projektet kommer att genomföras i två, delvis parallella, faser: I första fasen genomförs kvalitativa intervjuer med strategiskt utvalda äldre (60-90 år) som har erfarenheter av olika former av nya relationer på äldre dar (nytt äktenskap, samboende, särboende, tillfälliga sexuella kontakter, samkönade relationer etc). I ett andra steg görs ett enkätutskick till ett riksrepresentativt urval av 2000 60-90-åringar, för att studera spridningen av erfarenheter, attityder och förväntningar på nya relationer i äldrebefolkningen. Studien kommer att synliggöra nya intimitetsformer bland äldre, belysa vilken roll nya relationer spelar för de äldres livskvalitet, samt också ge fingervisningar om hur stöd- och omsorgsstrukturer för äldre ser ut och kan komma att se ut i det senmoderna samhället.
Publications (10 of 11) Show all publications
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
Bildtgård, T. & Öberg, P. (2015). Time as a structuring condition behind new intimate relationships in later life. Ageing & Society, 35(7), 1505-1528
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Time as a structuring condition behind new intimate relationships in later life
2015 (English)In: Ageing & Society, ISSN 0144-686X, E-ISSN 1469-1779, Vol. 35, no 7, p. 1505-1528Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Although mobility in and out of intimate relationships has become more common in later life, it has been a neglected issue in social gerontology. In this article, we ask what characterises the formation of new intimate relationships in later life, and whether there are any specific conditions that separate these from relationships in earlier stages of the lifecourse. On the basis of qualitative interviews with 28 persons aged 63-91 who have established a new intimate heterosexual relationship after the age of 60 or who are dating singles, we argue that time constitutes such a central structuring condition. We discuss and theorise two aspects of time - post-(re)productive free time and remaining time - which have an important formative power on new late-in-life relationships. We argue that together these aspects form a central existential structure of ageing in many Western societies - the paradoxical condition of having lots of available free time but little time left in life - which, besides influencing new late-in-life relationships, might also be relevant to other aspects of and choices in later life. 

Keywords
intimate relationship, later life, structuring condition, time
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-18422 (URN)10.1017/S0144686X14000452 (DOI)000357882800008 ()2-s2.0-84943165221 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2009-0720
Available from: 2014-12-10 Created: 2014-12-10 Last updated: 2019-10-04Bibliographically approved
Bildtgård, T. & Öberg, P. (2014). Changing Sexual Practices in New Intimate Relationships in Later Life – A Life Course Perspective. In: 8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology: Programme and Abstracts. Paper presented at 8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology, 10–12 April 2014, National University of Ireland, Galway (pp. 138-138).
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Changing Sexual Practices in New Intimate Relationships in Later Life – A Life Course Perspective
2014 (English)In: 8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology: Programme and Abstracts, 2014, p. 138-138Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

It has been argued that in late modernity sex has escaped its reproductive cage and people form pure relationships, based on mutual satisfaction. Ironically, although older people are per definition non-­‐reproductive, they have often been neglected in studies on sexuality. In this paper we present results from 1) a qualitative interview study with a strategic sample of 28 63–91 year old Swedes currently dating or in a heterosexual relationship (married, cohabiting, LAT) initiated 60+ and 2) a quantitative survey including answers from 1225 60–90 year old Swedes. The interviews revealed a clear normative  change,  from  a  cultural  context  that  condemned  extra-­‐marital  sex  in young adulthood  to  a context  encouraging  sexual  relationships  but  not  marriage in later  life.  All  had experienced  the  sexual  liberation  of  the  1960s,  and today, these liberal  attitudes  seem  to encompass later life. Today, an active sex-­‐life is regarded as important for a good relationship and sexual attraction was seen as a precondition for newrelationships. Many informants had interpreted sexual decline in former relationships as “natural ageing”, but re-­‐discovered sexuality with their new partner. In the survey, a majority (93 %) had had their sexual debut before marriage (despite the restrictive norms). Half or the respondents have had ≥ 4 sexual partners, and one in five ≥ 10. Sexual activity correlated negatively with relationship length. It has often been argued that sexual values and practices will become more liberal in the future by cohort replacement. Our data indicates that “the future might already be here”.

Keywords
relationships, older people, sexuality, 60+
National Category
Geriatrics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-20807 (URN)
Conference
8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology, 10–12 April 2014, National University of Ireland, Galway
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0909:1Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2009-00720
Available from: 2015-12-08 Created: 2015-12-08 Last updated: 2019-10-04Bibliographically approved
Bildtgård, T. & Öberg, P. (2014). The Impact of New Intimate Relationships in Later Life on Intergenerational Exchange. In: 8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology: Programme and Abstracts. Paper presented at 8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology, 10–12 April 2014, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland (pp. 167-167).
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Impact of New Intimate Relationships in Later Life on Intergenerational Exchange
2014 (English)In: 8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology: Programme and Abstracts, 2014, p. 167-167Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Much social gerontological research has focused on partner loss in later life and how it affects social, emotional and practical exchanges between generations. In this paper we instead ask how a newintimate relationship in later life affects these inter-­‐generational exchanges. The results are based both  on  qualitative  interviews  with  28  Swedes  (63–91  years)  either  dating  or  living  in  new relationships initiated after the age of 60 (marriage, cohabitation, LAT), and a quantitative survey to 60–90 year old Swedes (n=1225). In the interviews we found that the informants described changes in what we conceptualize as the ‘relationship chain’ –a hierarchy in social and care responsibilities–where the new partner stepped in at the very front of the chain. The follow-­‐up survey confirmed a hierarchy of dependencies, where partners tend to come first, followed by children, friends and the state. The interviews further showed that the informants recurrently described their partners as a resource for their own autonomy as well as that of their children and friends. We interpret these findings in light of an individualist culture of independence that characterizes the Nordic countries, aided by a strong welfare state, involving a strong ethic of not being a burden, even to your own children.

Keywords
geriatrics, later life, intimate relationship, 60+
National Category
Geriatrics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-20805 (URN)
Conference
8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology, 10–12 April 2014, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2009-00720
Available from: 2015-12-08 Created: 2015-12-08 Last updated: 2019-10-04Bibliographically approved
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), 109
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Attitudes, experiences and expectations on new intimate relationships in later life: results from a Swedish national survey
2013 (English)In: The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, ISSN 1279-7707, E-ISSN 1760-4788, Vol. 17, no Suppl. 1, p. 109-Article in journal, Meeting abstract (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

Introduction : More than a million, or almost half, of the 60+ population (46%) in Sweden today are singles (never married, divorced, widows/widowers), a majority are women and the actual number as well as the proportion of divorcees is increasing. Still, we know very little about the intimate lives of non-married elderly people or about re-partnering in later life. This presentation focuses attitudes to, expectations on, and experiences of new intimate relations in later life.

Method : It is based on results from a new representative survey of 3 000 Swedes, 60-90 years old (boosted with regards to non-married people), that was developed from questions generated by a recent qualitative interview study with 28 Swedes who had established a new relationship after the age of 60.

Results : We describe attitudes, expectations and experiences in the older population generally, but also in different groups defined on the basis of gender, class, life-course phase, sexual orientation, degree of urbanization and intimacy career. We also focus the importance of intimate relationships for older people’s quality of life, and reason about how structures of informal support may look for older people who enter new intimate relationships.

Conclusion : As of november 2012 we are still in an early phase of the survey work, thus conclusions are pending.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2013
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology; Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-20808 (URN)
Conference
20th IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, June 23-27 2013, Seoul, Korea
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0909:1Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2009-00720
Available from: 2013-12-18 Created: 2015-12-08 Last updated: 2019-10-04Bibliographically approved
Bildtgård, T. & Öberg, P. (2013). New intimate relationships and informal care obligations in later life. Paper presented at Gerontological Society of America´s 66th Annual Scientific Congress, 20-24 November 2013, New Orleans, USA. The Gerontologist, 53(Suppl. 1), 413-414
Open this publication in new window or tab >>New intimate relationships and informal care obligations in later life
2013 (English)In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 53, no Suppl. 1, p. 413-414Article in journal, Meeting abstract (Other academic) Published
National Category
Gerontology, specialising in Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-17915 (URN)000327442105029 ()
Conference
Gerontological Society of America´s 66th Annual Scientific Congress, 20-24 November 2013, New Orleans, USA
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2009-00720
Available from: 2014-11-10 Created: 2014-11-10 Last updated: 2019-10-04Bibliographically approved
Bildtgård, 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.), 300-300
Open this publication in new window or tab >>New sexual relationships in later life: the case of late modern Sweden
2013 (English)In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 53, no Suppl., p. 300-300Article in journal, Meeting abstract (Other academic) Published
National Category
Gerontology, specialising in Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-17914 (URN)000327442104024 ()
Conference
Gerontological Society of America's 66th Annual Scientific Meeting, 20-24 November, New Orleans, USA
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0909:1Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2009-00720
Available from: 2014-11-10 Created: 2014-11-10 Last updated: 2019-10-04Bibliographically approved
Öberg, 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
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The impact of new intimate relationships in later life on life satisfaction
2013 (English)In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 53, no Suppl. 1, p. 61-61Article in journal, Meeting abstract (Other academic) Published
National Category
Sociology Gerontology, specialising in Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-17913 (URN)000327442101289 ()
Conference
Gerontological Society of America 66th Annual Scientific Meeting, 20-24 November 2013, New Orleans, USA
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0909:1Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2009-00720
Available from: 2014-11-10 Created: 2014-11-10 Last updated: 2019-10-04Bibliographically approved
Bildtgård, T. & Öberg, P. (2013). Time as a structuring condition behind new intimate relationships in later life. In: 2nd Forum of Sociology, Social Justice and Democratization, 1-4 August 2012, Buenos Aires, Argentina: Book of Abstracts. Paper presented at 2nd Forum of Sociology, Social Justice and Democratization, 1-4 August 2012, Buenos Aires, Argentina (pp. 65-65).
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Time as a structuring condition behind new intimate relationships in later life
2013 (English)In: 2nd Forum of Sociology, Social Justice and Democratization, 1-4 August 2012, Buenos Aires, Argentina: Book of Abstracts, 2013, p. 65-65Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Mobility in and out of intimate relationships has become more common in late modern societies also in later life. However, it has been a neglected issue in social gerontology and sociological studies on ageing. In this paper the research questions are: What characterizes the formation of new intimate relationships in later life? Are there any specific, more or less universal, conditions that separate them from relationships in earlier life phases? Qualitative interviews was used with a strategical sampel, consisting of 28 Swedes, 63–91 years, who have established a new intimate heterosexual relationship after the age of 60 or who are dating. The results showed Time constituting a central structuring condition for new intimate relsionships in later life. In the results three aspects of time – Available free time, Lived time and Remaining time – which all have a constituting and an important formative power on new late in life relationships are discussed in relation to theories of late modernity and the Third Age and in relation to changing demographical conditions.

National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-21125 (URN)
Conference
2nd Forum of Sociology, Social Justice and Democratization, 1-4 August 2012, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2009-00720
Available from: 2016-01-27 Created: 2016-01-27 Last updated: 2019-10-04Bibliographically approved
Öberg, P. & Bildtgård, T. (2013). Time as a structuring condition for new intimate relationships in later life: A qualitative study of elderly Swedes. Paper presented at 20th World Congress of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG), June 23-27, 2013 Seoul, South-Korea. The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, 17(Suppl. 1), 109-110
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Time as a structuring condition for new intimate relationships in later life: A qualitative study of elderly Swedes
2013 (English)In: The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, ISSN 1279-7707, E-ISSN 1760-4788, Vol. 17, no Suppl. 1, p. 109-110Article in journal, Meeting abstract (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Introduction: Social gerontology about intimacy in old age has almost exclusively focused on institutionalized life-long marriages. However, mobility in and out of intimate relationships has become more common in late modern societies also in later life. In this paper the research questions are: What characterizes the formation of new intimate relationships in later life? Are there any specific, more or less universal, conditions that separate them from relationships in earlier life phases?

Method: Qualitative interviews were used with a strategical sample of 28 6-?91 year old Swedes, who have established a new intimate heterosexual relationship after the age of 60 or who are dating.

Results: The results showed time as constituting a central structuring condition for new intimate relationships in later life. In the results three aspects of time: Available free time, Lived time and Remaining time ? which all have a constituting and formative power on new late in life relationships are discussed in relation to theories of late modernity and the Third Age and in relation to changing demographical conditions.

Conclusion: The concluding discussion will be about the time theoretical frame as a model for understanding experiences of ageing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2013
Keywords
intimacy, later life, time
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-20806 (URN)
Conference
20th World Congress of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG), June 23-27, 2013 Seoul, South-Korea
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2009-00720
Available from: 2015-12-08 Created: 2015-12-08 Last updated: 2019-10-04Bibliographically approved
Principal InvestigatorÖberg, Peter
Co-InvestigatorBildtgård, Torbjörn
Coordinating organisation
University of Gävle
Funder
Period
2010-01-01 - 2011-12-31
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
DiVA, id: project:306Project, id: 2009-00720_Forte

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