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Gendered Ideals vs. Realities for Partner-Age Unions in Later Life
Social Work, Stockholm University. (Socialt arbete)
University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology. (Socialt arbete)
2015 (English)In: Aging Families/Changing Families, 2015Conference paper, 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.

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URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-20800OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-20800DiVA: diva2:877850
Aging Families/Changing Families: An International Conference, 3-6 June 2015, Syracuse, (NY), USA

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

Available from: 2015-12-08 Created: 2015-12-08 Last updated: 2016-01-27Bibliographically approved

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Öberg, Peter
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