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  • 1.
    Bildtgard, Torbjörn
    et al.
    Stockholms universitet.
    Öberg, Peter
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Changing sexual pracitices in intimate relationships in later life - a life course perspective2014In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 54, no Suppl. 2, p. 76-76Article in journal (Other academic)
    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”.

  • 2.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    et al.
    Stockholms universitet, Institutionen för socialt arbete - Socialhögskolan.
    Öberg, Peter
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Attitudes, experiences and expectations on new intimate relationships in later life: results from a Swedish national survey2013In: The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging: Abstract Book, Springer, 2013, Vol. 17, p. 109-Conference paper (Other academic)
    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.

  • 3.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    et al.
    Stockholms Universitet.
    Öberg, Peter
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Changing Sexual Practices in New Intimate Relationships in Later Life – A Life Course Perspective2014In: 8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology: Programme and Abstracts, 2014, p. 138-138Conference paper (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”.

  • 4. Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    et al.
    Öberg, Peter
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Förändrade intimitetsformer bland äldre i det senmoderna samhället [Changing forms of intimacy among older people in late modern society]2015In: Sociologisk forskning, ISSN 0038-0342, Vol. 52, no 1, p. 5-31Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 5.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    et al.
    Social Work, Stockholm University.
    Öberg, Peter
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Gendered Ideals vs. Realities for Partner-Age Unions in Later Life2015In: Aging Families/Changing Families, 2015Conference paper (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.

  • 6.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    et al.
    Stockholms universitet.
    Öberg, Peter
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Intimacy and Ageing: New Relationships in Later Life2017Book (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. 

  • 7.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    et al.
    Social Work, Stockholm University.
    Öberg, Peter
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    New intimate relationships and informal care obligations in later life2013In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 53, no Suppl. 1, p. 413-414Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 8.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    et al.
    Stockholms universitet.
    Öberg, Peter
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    New intimate relationships as a resource for independent living in later life2014In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 54, no Suppl. 2, p. 11-11Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Despite increased research interest in transitions into new intimate relationships in later life, little focus has been on how transitions affect older people’s social networks. We investigate the impact of entering into new intimate relationships in later life on interdependent lives. Results are based on both qualitative interviews with 28 Swedes (63–91 years) either dating or living in new relationships initiated 60+ (marriage, cohabitation, LAT), and a quantitative survey to 60–90 year old Swedes (n=1225; response rate 42%). A central theoretical frame is Elder’s (1994) principle of interdependent lives. A new relationship usually meant integration into the new partner’s social and filial networks (some problems will be discussed) and a restructuring of the relationship chain so that time and energy is redirected to the new partner. A new partner was described as a resource for living independent lives by the older informants, and as a way of “unburdening” the children. Finally, the qualitative interviews hinted at a hierarchy of dependencies. This was confirmed by the survey. A majority of respondents would primarily turn to their partners for social, emotional and practical support, with children as a distant second and “others” third. An exception was personal hygiene, where partners remained the first choice, but where the social services were preferred to children. This hierarchy was the same in new relationships. The results, partly contradicting previous research findings, are discussed in light of Western individualism generally and Swedish welfare-state and state supported individualism in particular.

  • 9.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    et al.
    Social Work, Stockholm University.
    Öberg, Peter
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    New intimate relationships in later life: Consequences for social and filial relationships2013In: 2nd ISA forum of Sociology, Ssocial Justice and Democratization, 1–4, August 2012, Buenos Aires, Argentina: Book of Abstracts, 2013, p. 65-65Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Lots of prior social gerontological research has focused on filial rela-tions in informal care as well as the impact of widowhood on social relation-ships in later life. In this paper we instead ask how a new intimate relation-ship in later life effect relationships with children, relatives and friends. In particular we focus on the effects that a new intimate partner in later life has on filial, social and care obligations. To answer these questions, qualitative interviews were conducted with a strategical sample of 28 Swedes, 63–91 years, who had established a new intimate relationship after the age of 60 (or who are dating). We found that the respondents describe changes over their life-time in what we conceptualize as the ‘relationship chain’ – a hierarchy in social and care responsibilities – where the new partner in established relations steps in at the very front of the chain. This is positively perceived by the informants, who recurrently describe their partners as a resource for their own autonomy as well as that of their children, relatives and friends.

  • 10.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Öberg, Peter
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    New intimate relationships in later life: consequences for the social and filial network?2017In: Journal of family issues, ISSN 0192-513X, E-ISSN 1552-5481, Vol. 38, no 3, p. 381-405Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 11. Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    et al.
    Öberg, Peter
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    New sexual relationships in later life: the case of late modern Sweden2013In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 53, no Suppl., p. 300-300Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 12.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    et al.
    Stockholms universitet.
    Öberg, Peter
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    The Impact of New Intimate Relationships in Later Life on Intergenerational Exchange2014In: 8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology: Programme and Abstracts, 2014, p. 167-167Conference paper (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.

  • 13.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    et al.
    Social Work, Stockholm University.
    Öberg, Peter
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Time as a structuring condition behind new intimate relationships in later life2013In: 2nd Forum of Sociology, Social Justice and Democratization, 1-4 August 2012, Buenos Aires, Argentina: Book of Abstracts, 2013, p. 65-65Conference paper (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.

  • 14.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    et al.
    Social Work, Stockholm University.
    Öberg, Peter
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Union Form in Late Life Intimate Relationships: A Question of Age, Period or Cohort?2015In: Aging Families/Changing Families, 2015Conference paper (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.

  • 15.
    Öberg, Peter
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Bildtgard, Torbjörn
    Stockholms universitet.
    Diversity of intimacy forms and their importance for well-being in later life2014In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 54, no Suppl. 2, p. 195-195Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper focuses on different forms of intimacy in later life in late modern Sweden and their consequences for well-being. The results are based both on qualitative interviews with 28 Swedes (63–91 years), living in new relationships initiated after the age of 60 (marriage, cohabitation, LAT) or currently dating; and on a quantitative survey to 60–90 year old Swedes (n=1225; response rate 42%). The results show: A great diversity in relationship careers over the life course; a preference for LAT (70%) and cohabitation (26%) in new unions established 60+; strong support from adult children for parents’ new LAT (86%) and cohabitation (76%) relationships, but less support for marriage (50%); that new relationships are as important for life-satisfaction as long-lasting ones; after subjective health, a partner is the second most important explanation for life-satisfaction, more important than having children; LAT was the union form that added most to life-satisfaction for men while marriage was the only form that significantly added to the life-satisfaction of women. Results were the same for newly established relationships and older relationships. Results will be discussed in relation to the shift from marriage to divorce culture (Hackstaff), the transformation of intimacy (Giddens), potentials of the third age (Laslett), and gender socialization, but also in terms of how the results can be interpreted in a context of Swedish welfare-state supported individualism where a partner provides both autonomy in relation to adult children and social integration.

  • 16.
    Öberg, Peter
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    Stockholms universitet.
    Changing Union Forms Among Older People in Late Modern Sweden2015In: Aging Families/Changing Families, 2015Conference paper (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?

  • 17.
    Öberg, Peter
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Sociology/Social work.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    Social Work, Stockholm University.
    Diversity and ageing – the meaning of new intimate relationships in later life2012In: : Book of Abstracts, 2012, p. 423-423Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Social gerontology and family sociology about intimacy in old age has almost exclusively focused on institutionalized life-long marriages and little research has focused on re-partnering and the forms and meaning of this diversity of new intimate relationships in later life. Framed by Giddens’ transformation of intimacy and Laslett’s theory of the third age, as well as changing social and demographical conditions, this paper will focus on how different forms of new intimate relationships are formative for the experi-ence of ageing.The strategical sampel was diversified according to differ-ent forms of new intimate relationships: dating singles, married, cohabiting and living apart together. Qualitative interviews was used with 28 Swedes, 63–91 years, who have established a new intimate heterosexual relation-ship after 60 or who are dating singles. The results showed the significance of new intimate relations for social integration and for the experience of old age as the “crown of life”. The meaning of new intimate relations in differ-ent intimacy forms are discussed in relation to everyday life in old age, the relational history and relational careers and future perspectives of informal support structures by the relation.

  • 18.
    Öberg, Peter
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    Stockholm University.
    Diversity and Ageing – the meaning of new intimate relationships in later life2014Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 19.
    Öberg, Peter
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    Stockholms universitet.
    Initiation and development of new intimate relationships in later life2016In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 56, no Suppl. 3, p. 17-18, article id Suppl. 3Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 20.
    Öberg, Peter
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    Stockholms universitet.
    New Forms of Intimacy in Later Life in a Culture of Divorce2014In: 8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology: Programme and Abstracts, 2014, p. 92-92Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Studies on intimacy in later life have mostly focused on institutionalized life-­‐long marriages, and the transition out of such marriages into widowhood. Based on theories about the shift from marriage to divorce culture (Hackstaff), the transformation of intimacy (Giddens) and potentials of the third age (Laslett), this paper focuses on forms of intimacy in later life in late modern Sweden. The results arebased partly on qualitative interviews, including relationship biographies, with 28 Swedes (63–91 years) living in new heterosexual relationships initiated after the age of 60 (marriage, cohabitation, LAT) and dating singles. And partly on a quantitative survey to 60–90 year old Swedes (n=1225). The results show: A great diversity in relationship careers; a preference of LAT and cohabitation (non-­‐visible in official statistics); the importance of intimate relationships for well-­‐being and that new relationships are as important for life-­‐satisfaction as long-­‐lasting ones; that intimate relationships are more important than children for well-­‐being. A central analytical finding was the importance of time as an organizing frame for new intimate relationships in later life: the paradox of having a lot of free time in the third age, but a restricted life time left. Results will be discussed in relation to the theorizing frames mentioned above, especially new practices for intimacy in a culture of divorce. Cohort replacement is only one explanation for changing practices and the period effect seems to be as important.

  • 21.
    Öberg, Peter
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    University of Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Partner-age in late life unions - ideals vs realities2016In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 56, no 3, p. 732-732, article id Suppl. 3Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 22.
    Öberg, Peter
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    Stockholms universitet.
    Sexual activity and norms among older Swedes: a life course perspective2014Conference paper (Refereed)
    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 which encourages 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 was regarded as important for a good relationship and sexual attraction was seen as a precondition for new relationships. Many informants had interpreted sexual decline in former relationships as “natural” and age-related, 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 more sexual partners, and one in five ≥ 10. Sexual activity correlated negatively with relationship length. It has often been argued in gerontology 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”.

  • 23.
    Öberg, Peter
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    Social Work, Stockholm University.
    The impact of new intimate relationships in later life on life satisfaction2013In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 53, no Supplement 1, p. 61-61Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 24.
    Öberg, Peter
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    Social Work, Stockholm University.
    The impact of new intimate relationships in later life on social and filial relationships.2014Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 25.
    Öberg, Peter
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    Stockholms universitet.
    The importance of intimate relationships for well-being in later life2014Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Studies on intimacy in later life have mostly focused on institutionalized life-long marriages, and the transition out of such marriages into widowhood. Based on theories about the shift from marriage to divorce culture (Hackstaff), the transformation of intimacy (Giddens) and potentials of the third age (Laslett), this paper focuses on forms of intimacy in later life in late modern Sweden. The results are based partly on qualitative interviews, including relationship biographies, with 28 Swedes (63–91 years) living in new relationships initiated after the age of 60 (marriage, cohabitation, LAT) and dating singles. And partly on a quantitative survey to 60–90 year old Swedes (n=1225). The results show: A great diversity in relationship careers; a preference of LAT and cohabitation (non-visible in official statistics); the importance of intimate relationships for well-being and that new relationships are as important for life-satisfaction as long-lasting ones; that intimate relationships are more important than children for well-being. A central analytical finding was the importance of time as an organizing frame for new intimate relationships in later life: the paradox of having a lot of free time in the third age, but a restricted life time left. Results will be discussed in relation to the theorizing frames mentioned above, especially new practices for intimacy in a culture of divorce. Cohort replacement is only one explanation for changing practices and attitudes to new intimate relationships in later life and the period effect seems to be as important.

  • 26.
    Öberg, Peter
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    Institutionen för socialt arbete, Socialhögskolan, Stockholms universitet, Stockholm, Sverige.
    Andersson, Lars
    Institutionen för samhälls- och välfärdsstudier (ISV), NISAL, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, Sverige.
    Skyddar en parrelation på äldre dar mot ensamhet?2016In: Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift, ISSN 1104-1420, Vol. 23, no 1, p. 19-36Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

1 - 26 of 26
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