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Middle Age and The Elderly: Part 3 of 3: Dissertation Abstracts
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Abstracts: Papers, articles, and books.
Abstracts: Ph.D and Master's Theses

ABSTRACTS: Ph.D & Master's Theses

Adelman, MR (1980). Adjustment to aging and styles of being gay: a study of elderly gay men and lesbians. Ph.D. Thesis, The Wright Institute, DAI Vol. 41: 02B, p. 679, 100 pages.

Abstract by author: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between adjustment to late life and homosexual/lesbian life styles in an effort to further understanding of gay development across the life cycle. The respondents in this study were 25 women and 27 men, 60 years of age and older, who were self-defined homosexuals. All respondents were White and living in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The educational and occupational backgrounds of the respondents indicated a middle to upper-middle class background. Gay life styles were defined by the following variables: age of first awareness of gay feelings; age of first gay experience; age of self-definition as a gay person; sequence of early gay events regardless of age; level of satisfaction with being gay; level of importance of homosexuality; change in importance of homosexuality in last 10 years; definition of one's homosexuality in terms of positive feelings, positive identity, friendship, or life style; degree of disclosure of sexual orientation at work, to friends, and to relatives; and degree of involvement with other gay people. Adjustment to late life was determined by scores on three instruments: (1) the Life Satisfaction Index A (Neugarten et. al., 1961); (2) the Self-criticism Scale (Lowenthal et. al., 1975); the Block Q Sort for Nonprofessional Sorters (Block, 1961); and (3) the Symptoms Index (Gurin et. al., 1950). The adjustment scores were statistically weighted for each style of being gay by applying a discriminant analysis to determine which pattern of adjustment was related to which style of being gay. The results showed that adjustment was related to style of being gay. The same pattern of adjustment, high life satisfaction, low self-criticism, and few psychosomatic complaints, was related both to sequence of early gay developmental events (p < .04), experimentation prior to self-definition, and to being very satisfied with being gay (p < .00001). The following non-significant statistical trends were also discussed: high life satisfaction was most strongly related to early age of awareness, high importance of homosexuality, decrease in importance of homosexuality in last 10 years, undisclosed status at work, and low involvement with other gay people; high self-criticism was most strongly related to early age of awareness, early age of self-definition, and disclosure to relatives; and many psychosomatic complaints was most strongly related to not defining one's homosexuality in terms of positive identity. Also, since socioeconomic status is known to influence disclosure style, level of income was inspected as a possible intervening variable. Pearson Product Moment Coefficients were applied to the three disclosure components and level of income. The results yielded a moderate correlational level only between disclosure at work and income level (r = -.496, p < .002). Apparently, high economic status contributes to low disclosure at work. A major finding of this study is that gay people meet the same developmental challenges as heterosexuals and that the only unique developmental aspect is the exacerbating influence of stigma on the maturational process. The implication of the findings were discussed with respect to developmental theory and research. In light of these findings, the notion of homosexuality as an abnormal or arrested development must be questioned. It was proposed that we regard sexual orientation, either homosexual or heterosexual, not in terms of adjustment but rather as a strategy of adaptation. It was further suggested that future research on homosexuality should shift focus from antiquated models of pathology and extraordinary development to the exploration of theoretical models of adjustment and adaptation.

Publication No.  8016672

Carlsen JT (1994). Future expectations of gay men: a qualitative analysis using kelly's personal construct theory.  PSY.D. Thesis, Chicago School Of Professional Psychology, DAI Vol. 56: 02B, p. 1125, 123 pages.

Abstract by author: This study investigated the effects of gay identity acquisition and gay community acculturation on the future expectations of 24 self-identified gay men. It established gay identity level using the Klein Sexual Orientation Grid and gay community acculturation level using the Gay Acculturation Index. The study examined both the length and content of gay men's future expectations and how these expectations compared to those of their older and younger gay male peers. It also explored ways in which these expectations might change as a function of subjects' gay identity acquisition, relationship status, and current health status. The findings showed that gay men anticipate the future in a variety of ways that both parallel and diverge from previous research concerning heterosexual life-course norms. The discussion provides clinical and theoretical applications of the findings and recommends directions for future research.

Publication No.  9521969

Cook TC (1991). Homosexuality and aging: an exploratory study. M.S.W. Thesis, California State University, Long Beach, MAI Vol. 30: 01, p. 54, 75 pages.

Abstract by author: The purpose of this study was to explore how gay men aged 40 and older have adjusted, psychologically and socially, to their sexual orientation and aging process. This study analyzed data from a sample of 30 respondents obtained from different socioeconomic, educational, and ethnic backgrounds in the Southern California area.  The typical respondent was a single, employed Caucasian with 1 to 3 years of college and a $30,000--50,000 annual income. This typical respondent was a Republican and Protestant who resided alone. Results indicated that respondents had a majority of gay friends within 10 years of their age with whom they spent most of their leisure time socializing. Results also indicated that a majority of gay men socialized in gay bars and/or were actively involved in a social/service group. These were some of the ways gay men over 40 adjusted socially to their sexual orientation and aging process.  Social workers need to develop an understanding of the older homosexual to assist these individuals in coping with issues which are related to their sexuality and the aging process.

Publication No.  1345852

Davis HA (1993). Coming of age: the experience of menopause for lesbian women. M.S.N. Thesis, Mgh Institute Of Health Professions, MAI Vol. 31:04, p. 1761, 95 pages.

Abstract by author: This qualitative study explores and describes the experiences of menopause for seven lesbian women. Of the women interviewed, four were post-menopausal and three were perimenopausal.  Tape-recorded, semistructured interviews were conducted with each participant. The tapes were transcribed and then the data was analyzed using the process of constant comparative analysis to develop codes, themes and categories. Four categories of meaning and experience emerged from the data: (1) Bodily changes: awareness and integration, (2) Menopause as a political issue, (3)
Health care for lesbians at midlife, and (4) The internal terrain: emotional responses to menopause. Implications of this study include the need to increase health care providers' awareness of the particular concerns of their lesbian clients and of the fact that many women view menopause as a very positive and natural life transition.

Publication No.  1352469

Deevey S (1988). Health-seeking behaviors in an invisible minority: lesbian women over 50. M.S. Thesis, The Ohio State University College Of Nursing, MAI Vol. 27:01, p. 92, 137 pages.

Abstract by author: Seventy-eight lesbian women ages 50-82 were located by snowball sampling and completed a mailed questionnaire about their life experiences and health-seeking behaviors. Frequencies of responses and additional comments by subjects were described. Subjects reported demographic variety, positive feelings about their mental health and aging, variety in age of 'coming out,' and caution about self-disclosure. Most practice health-seeking behaviors. Nurses are encouraged to give culturally sensitive care to older lesbian clients who have previously been 'invisible' because of their age, gender, and sexual orientation.

Publication No.  1333148

Desdin R (1983). Intergenerational male homosexual couples: an examination of sex role ascription, attitudes toward men's and women's roles and sex role behaviors. Ph.D. Thesis, Oklahoma State University, DAI Vol. 45:06B, p. 1910, 70 pages.

Abstract by author: Scope and Method of Study. The purpose of the study was to compare two groups of nonclinical male homosexual couples in long term relationships. One group consisted of individuals under 35 years of age, the other consisted of individuals over 35 years of age.  The following variables were studied: sex role ascription, sex role behaviors, attitudes towards both men's and women's roles, and household behaviors. Subjects were recruited in Los Angeles, California, through gay churches, gay bars, and friendship pyramiding. These two groups of 15 couples each were matched on educational level, income, and duration of relationship. The subjects were administered the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI), Bem Sex Role Inventory-Behaviors Scale (BSRI-B), Attitudes Towards Women Scale (AWS), Attitudes Towards Masculine Transcendence Scale (ATMTS), and Household Behaviors Scale (HBS). The Mini-Multiphasic Personality Inventory (Mini-MMPI) was used as a screening device to insure a nonclinical sample.
Multivariate analyses of variance, analyses of variance, analyses of covariance, and a correlation matrix were utilized to analyze the data. Findings and Conclusions. Differences were found on the matched variables. The older couples were found to have been together longer (duration of relationship), and to have higher incomes. The two groups of couples could not be differentiated on sex role ascription (BSRI), sex role behaviors (BSRI-B), or household behaviors (HBS). Compared to the younger couples, the older gay couples were found to express more conservative attitudes towards both men and women's roles. Reasons for these findings were discussed

Publication No.  8414149

Fox BB (1982). The older lesbian: the invisible woman. Ph.D. Thesis, The Fielding Institute, DAI Vol. 46:06B, p. 2061, 283 pages.

Abstract by author: This research on 25 older, successful, closeted lesbians was undertaken to obtain information concerning a hitherto unstudied segment of the total lesbian population. The methodology was phenomenological, based on semi-structured taped interviews and in vivo observation. The interviews were planned to test 10 assumptions which were derived from the psychoanalytic, the socio-psychological, and the popular literature on lesbians. The data unequivocally supported those assumptions which ran counter to psychoanalytic theories of causality, showing no common factors in the familial, personal or early sexual histories of these women. Other findings were an easy acceptance of female gender identity while rejecting a significant portion of stereotypical female sex-role behavior, an unexpectedly high incidence of satisfactory heterosexual experience with no instance of hatred or fear of men, the existence of strong friendship networks of other lesbians and gay men, and a stronger identification with other women than with other lesbians in the area of discrimination. Considerable evidence of homophobic attitudes, usually covert, on the part of these women's therapists was reported. The composite older successful lesbian emerged as an intelligent woman, competent in her chosen field, contented with her life choice, and free of significant pathology. She closely resembled her heterosexual counterpart, differing from her only in the same-sex preference which defined her in the first place.

Publication No.  8516387

Fusco JM (1993). How gay men at midlife achieved generativity through selfobject relationships. PSY.D. Thesis, Chicago School Of Professional Psychology, DAI Vol. 55:02B, p. 589, A194 pages.

Abstract by author: Discrimination dramatically alters the identities, intimate relationships, and careers of gay men. In spite of these difficulties, many gay men achieve productive and meaningful lives. The study designed 3 quantitative and qualitative instruments to provide basic research (Patton, 1990) into known and unknown variables about generativity vs. stagnation (Erikson, 1963) at midlife in gay men. Self psychology (Kohut, 1984) provided a framework for conceptualizing personality structure. Twenty self-identified gay men matched the criteria variables of middle-age (median = 46.5 years); with no biological children (one exception); in good or excellent health; with some college education; a career of some 10 or more years; and a past or current gay lover relationship of some 10 or more years. Respondents, predominantly Caucasians (95%) living in a metropolitan area, completed a 25-page Written Questionnaire about demography, health, sexual orientation, relationships, careers, and activities of midlife. Major findings indicated that respondents, in contrast to a midlife crisis, felt most comfortable about themselves currently than at prior ages. Respondents engaged in high numbers of short- and long-term generative activities in diverse settings, beyond the gay men's community. The most active respondents also had faced significant inner struggles with personal issues and societal homophobia. The three highest scoring respondents completed a Supplemental Questionnaire on Generativity to detail the circumstances of their activities. Each respondent then participated in four short interviews, as well as one lengthy Psychodynamic Interview. The Interview focused on each man's network of selfobject relationships and the resolutions of adult development stages. The Interview considered as data the respondent's gestures, narrative form, affects, and cognitive style, as well as the personal reactions of both participant and interviewer to the process. Major findings suggested that Self-concept selected and mediated experiences from the environment according to internal personality dynamics. Three distinct types of dynamics emerged: confrontational selfobjects, spiritual fantasy selfobjects, and incubation of the Self.  At midlife, respondents' very identities served as both source and context of generativity. The Discussion addressed methodological questions and limitations of generalizability (Marshall & Rossman, 1989). Finally, it contrasted the findings to generativity among heterosexuals in the dominant culture.

Publication No.  9414734

Goldfarb J (1985). Attitudes of gay and heterosexual men toward aging. Ph.D. Thesis, California School Of Professional Psychology - Los Angeles, DAI Vol. 46:11B, p. 3999, 177 pages.

Abstract by author: With the rapid growth in the proportion of the population age 65 and older, attitudes toward personal aging have become an important issue in adult psychology, yet one which has received little research attention. Some writers have commented on the especially negative views of aging held by gay males, noting the gay subculture's emphasis on youthful attractiveness and the prevalence of negative stereotypes of the older gay man. The present study tested the assumption that gays would have more negative attitudes toward aging than heterosexuals, and examined the relationship between attitudes toward aging and self-acceptance, social support, age, income, and health status. Subjects were 186 male volunteers between 18 and 58 years of age, self-identified as gay (n = 90) or heterosexual (n = 96), and comparable on all demographic traits other than education. Subjects responded to self-report instruments assessing attitudes toward aging, self-acceptance, social support, social desirability, physical health, and demographic variables. No differences were obtained between groups on the independent variables or on the dependent measure, attitudes toward aging.  Bivariate analyses revealed positive associations for both groups between the dependent measure and self-acceptance, perceived helpfulness of the social network, social desirability, health, and age.  No correlations were obtained between attitudes toward aging and sexual orientation, number of persons in the social network, or income. A standard multiple regression analysis showed the variance in attitudes toward aging for the total sample to be significantly explained by the combined set of independent variables, but only self-acceptance, social network helpfulness, and social desirability made individually significant contributions. Separate regression analyses demonstrated that only self-acceptance achieved significance for heterosexuals, while only social support helpfulness and social desirability achieved significance for gays. These results do not support the notion that gays have more fear of growing older than do heterosexuals, but suggest the greater influence on attitudes toward aging of social factors for gays and individual factors for heterosexuals.

Publication No.  8528769

Holliger VH (1992). Retirement housing preferences of the homosexual elderly. M.S. Thesis, San Jose State University, MAI Vol. 31:01, p. 274, 52 pages.

Abstract by author: This research project investigated preferences in retirement housing among older homosexuals. A nonrandom volunteer sample of two lesbians and eight gay men, with a mean age of 56.6 years, were interviewed. The majority indicated a need for homosexual-sensitive retirement facilities, though they did not feel such a facility should be exclusively for homosexuals. Sensitivity towards homosexuality by the facility's staff and security were the most frequent mentioned characteristics desired.

Publication No.  1350090

Isikoff JG (1983).Locus of control and life satisfaction in aged homosexual men. PH.D. Thesis, California School of Professional Psychology, DAI, Vol. 43:11B, p. 3733, 153 pages.

Abstract by author: To be an older person in society is not an easy task. Recent National Institute of Mental Health figures (Resnik, 1980) citing older white males as the highest suicide risk points to the seriousness of the aging male's plight. Aging homosexual men live in double jeopardy of being "old" and "gay" - a stigma which may possibly carry an emotional toll. Traditional psychoanalytic theory with its emphasis on pathology has done little to alter the prevailing myths about aging gay men which include accelerated aging, perverted sexual behaviors, loneliness and a depressed isolated existence. The research question of this study is to what extent does the construct of locus of control affect the life satisfaction of the older gay male.

Fifty-five white, non-institutionalized, non-affiliated, Voluntary, non-clinical men were screened (X = 68.0 yrs., S.D. = 5.2) for general psychiatric health and were given instruments to assess their life satisfaction, locus of control, physical health, perceived age, activity level, social support and sociodemographic and psychological variables. Bivariate correlative analysis revealed a number of variables related to the predictor - life satisfaction; relationship status, locus of control, age perception, physical health, activity level, support system, and sexual behaviors. Multiple regression analysis revealed two main predictors of life satisfaction for the sample of aging gay males. Physical well-being accounted for 27% and activity level 8% of the variability of life satisfaction. Locus of control did not predict life satisfaction at a significant level.

Results are consistent with other presumably heterosexual aging studies in that health and socially inVolved activity affect a person's life satisfaction, self-concept and personal well-being (Palmore and Luikart, 1972). This finding also reaffirms Neugarten and Havighurst's (1961) notion that activity in old age mitigates the effects of time. While the findings of this study are essentially correlational and do not imply causality, it seems plausible to assume that life satisfaction in older gay men is contingent upon similar factors as for heterosexual aging males. The clinical implications of the study for aged homosexual men are to keep active and maintain a good degree of physical health in order to sustain a sense of psychological well-being. Clearly, more research regarding normative data is needed and future researchers would do well to consider exploring other aspects of gay gerontological wellness.

Publication No.  8307117

Laibe MJ (1998). Factors that contribute to or detract from self-actualization in a selected group of adult men 45 and over. Ph.D. Thesis, The Fielding Institute, DAI Vol. 58:12A, p. 4825, 167 pages.

Abstract by author: This descriptive, exploratory study addressed the application of developmental theory using Maslow's theme of self-actualization in a volunteer sample of gay men over 45. Examined was the extent to which the theory mapped the experiences of the final sample of 41 men and the factors of their self-reported development. The respondents participated in taped focus groups conducted in Denver, Colorado, in 1997. Transcript data examined patterns, trends, dominant themes, and the fit between Maslow's theory and the participants' experiences. Key findings included the overriding influence of social and contextual experiences that affected self-reported concerns for safety and security. Contributing factors were self-acceptance, honesty to self, coming out, familial relationships, and support of peers, school, and religious groups.  Detracting factors were non-acceptance, negative religious influences, societal rejection, lack of relationships, isolation, and safety concerns. The study concluded that this sample relates to Maslow's theoretical model in a limited way and that other theoretical frameworks should be examined to better match the experiences of gay men. Future research needs are discussed. The key words used in this study are: Self-actualization, Adult Gay Men's Development, and Older Gay Men.

Publication No.  9820422

Nash JP (1990). Stress, ego identity, and the disclosure of a homosexual orientation among midlife transition male religious professionals in the Roman Catholic Church. Ph.D. Thesis, Pacific Graduate School Of Psychology, DAI Vol. 52:03B, p. 1731, 258 pages.

Abstract by author: This study examined the relationship between life stress, ego identity and disclosure of homosexual orientation within the context of Daniel Levinson's psychosocial theory of adult development in men.  The construct of ego identity and disclosure of orientation were conceptualized as variables that moderate the effect of life-change events. The study investigated degree of disclosure of orientation, ego identity level, and perceived life stress to determine the ways in which these measures vary. Several auxiliary variables were also examined: sexual orientation, self-disclosure, locus of control, trait anxiety, social desirability, and attitude toward homosexuals. A stress measure and a disclosure of sexual orientation instrument were developed for use in this study with homosexually oriented Roman Catholic religious professional men. A significant correlation was demonstrated between ego identity and all other variables indicating its importance. Ego identity was also found to be predictive of disclosure of homosexual orientation; ego identity and disclosure of orientation in combination have moderating influence on stress levels. Disclosure of homosexual orientation to a close friend of similar sexual orientation was substantially higher than disclosure to any other valid target group. This may indicate the uniqueness of close gay/lesbian friends in the disclosure of orientation process. In addition, no statistical difference was found between stress scores of subjects who disclose their orientation only to close gay/lesbian friends, and those who disclose to both close gay/lesbian friends and close straight friends. This may suggest that for homosexually oriented Roman Catholic religious professional men, a life structure that involves disclosure of orientation to a few close gay/lesbian friends may be sufficient, in part, to achieving ego identity and moderating levels of stress. Sample characteristics were reported; because all participants reached a minimum level of orientation disclosure, generalizability of results was limited.

Publication No.  9113976

O'Leary MA (1997). Redefining sexuality at midlife: the coming out process for women over 35. Ph.D. Thesis, Georgia State University, DAI Vol. 58:02A, p. 391, 253 pages.

Abstract by author: Statement of the problem. Research related to lesbians, gay men, and bisexual men and women has become more prevalent in the counseling psychology literature. However, the concerns of this group, particularly those of lesbians and bisexual women, remain underrepresented. Coming out is a process which parallels an individual's development as a lesbian, gay man, or bisexual person.  For a sizeable number of women, this process occurs after a long period of living as a heterosexual person. As a result, these women must not only negotiate the normal developmental hurdles of middle age, but also adapt to a new (and frequently stigmatized) cultural identity. This study explored the process of coming out after midlife for women. Method. Participants were a non-clinical sample of 13 women who previously identified as heterosexual and who underwent a change in their sexual orientation after the age of 35.  They completed a questionnaire which included demographic information and Cass's Stage Allocation Measure (SAM). Each woman was also interviewed about her experience of coming out in one semi-structured audiotaped interview and one follow up interview. Results. Seven themes were identified in the women's responses. Participants viewed connectedness to others as a central issue in their coming out. They also noted numerous markers of personal growth, which were often linked to major developmental changes in their lives. Social conditioning was seen as a major contributor to their delayed coming out. Also important were a sense of greater maturity and wisdom that comes with increasing age. Relationships with children and parents were significant, as was developing a spiritual belief system that accommodated their changing sexuality. Conclusions. Women who come out at midlife must deal with a complex constellation of factors affecting almost every area of their lives. Clinicians, educators, and researchers are encouraged to develop the skills needed to work with these multiple issues, to educate professionals and lay persons about the needs of this often invisible group, and to maintain an active research program addressing the needs of this population.

Publication No.  9722213

Ossenbeck TJ (1988). The best friend relationship, psychological well-being, and loneliness in two groups of elderly retired men. Ph.D. Thesis, California School Of Professional Psychology - Berkeley/Alameda, DAI Vol. 49:07B, p. 2868, 144 pages.

Abstract by author: This study compared elderly heterosexual and homosexual men on three factors: (1) best friend relationship, (2) psychological well-being, and (3) loneliness. Prior research has demonstrated the importance, from a variety of perspectives, of high psychological well-being. Friendship has been shown to have a significant impact on well-being. Elderly people report being lonely and display the physical and psychological concomitants of loneliness when they are without adequate social support and friendships. The present study introduced sexual preference as a means to clarify how the two groups of men experienced the impact of the best friend relationship on loneliness and psychological well-being. On seven out of nine hypotheses, the homosexual group was expected to fare better. The respondents were 25 heterosexual and 25 homosexual men between the ages of 60 and 75 who were highly educated, middle-and upper-middle-class, healthy, and Caucasian. Respondents were recruited from various organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area that have a representation of elderly men or from publicized announcements. Each respondent completed a questionnaire consisting of the Revised Philadelphia Geriatric Center Morale Scale, ten items from the Acquaintance Description Form, and the Revised U.C.L.A. Loneliness Scale. None of the nine hypotheses comparing homosexual and heterosexual subjects was supported by the results. The study, however, did find mild confirmation of the expected associations among the best friend relationship, social and emotional loneliness, and psychological well-being in the overall sample. Variables like living arrangements and naming the spouse/lover as best friend emerged as more important than sexual orientation. The best friend relationship alleviated emotional loneliness but not social loneliness for both groups. The aim of this study was to provide a better understanding of the impact of friendship in elderly retired men. By finding that the similarities between the two groups were greater than the differences, some of the myths and prejudices about elderly men, particularly elderly, retired homosexual men, were challenged.

Publication No.  8818134

Peacock JR (1990). Voices which dared not speak: an older cohort's perception of social change and individual development among gay males. M.G.S. Thesis, Miami University, MAI Vol. 28:04, p. 520, 193 pages.

Abstract by author: The purpose of this research is to investigate cultural change in the patterns of gay male lifestyles, drawing in developmental and age-related issues. Twenty informants were obtained through a snowball sampling procedure for unstructured oral interviews. All were 'older' (as defined subculturally). The initial premise, gay bars as an antecedent to high rates of alcoholism among homosexuals, lost significance to the more pivotal interdependence of individual and societal factors which seem essential to cultural changes among gays. On the individual level, Erik Erikson's stages of human development served as a theoretical frame-work. The societal level is addressed through an historical interpretation of gay lifestyles from 1940 to the present. Both serve to communicate the interdependence of individual and sociocultural factors.

Publication No.  1340459

Pearson CL (1991). The self-perceived psychosocial needs of older gay men with ARC or AIDS. M.S.W. Thesis, California State University, Long Beach, MAI Vol. 29:04, p. 589, 74 pages.

Abstract by author: The purpose of this study was to examine the self-perceived psychosocial needs of older gay men with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) or AIDS Related Complex (ARC).  Thirty-eight gay men diagnosed with AIDS or ARC ages 40-66 in three southern California counties returned completed surveys. The respondents reported receiving 53.5% of services included in the anonymous questionnaire. The least commonly received services were from the Practical category, while Medical Services/support were rated as most often received and most important. The men also stated that most of their Social Services/support needs were being met satisfactorily, but that those from the Practical category were not. Many of the services and support perceived as important by this group were not being met satisfactorily. It is imperative that AIDS-service agencies create a congruency among the levels of satisfaction and importance in meeting the needs of this population.

Publication No.  1344465

Porter RC (1991). An exploratory study: social support networks of elderly gay men.M.S.W. Thesis, California State University, Long Beach, MAI Vol. 29:04, p. 590, 76 pages.

Abstract by author: The purpose of this study was to explore the nature and quality of the social networks of gay men aged 55 years and older. This study analyzed data on perceived social support from a sample of 73 respondents obtained from four gay social organizations and eight friendship networks in the Southern California area. Respondents to this study had large and diverse social networks, with whom they frequently communicate. The most frequent suppliers of support are close friends. The most frequent type of support received is socialization. Respondents who live alone or are not in a committed relationship are more likely to report feelings of loneliness.  Additional research is recommended to explore the social networks of lesbians, the impact of AIDS on social support in the homosexual community and the relationship between network function and psychosocial well-being.

Publication No.  1344471

Quarto JG (1996). Aging in the midst of aids: perspectives on the elderly gay male in the 1990s. M.S.W. Thesis, California State University, Long Beach, MAI Vol. 34:06, p. 2245, 74 pages.

Abstract by author: This study examined current attitudes and challenges of aging as they affect the elderly homosexual male, and whether these factors have changed since the advent of AIDS. Data were collected from 16 respondents of various socioeconomic and educational backgrounds in coastal California and Oregon. The average respondent was single, employed, Caucasian, a homeowner, either Democrat or nonpartisan, not affiliated with a religious organization; held a college degree and earned over $35,000 annually. Results indicated that, although these men faced certain challenges of aging similar to those of other elderly people, AIDS has affected many of them, including their aging process and attitudes towards aging. Many negative stereotypes of older homosexual men were contradicted by reported experiences of the respondents. Additional research is recommended to further explore the impact of AIDS on the elderly homosexual community in general, including its effect on lifestyle, attitudes, social support, and psychosocial well-being.

Publication No.  1380292

Riskin SS (1994). The relationship between ageism and homophobia among social workers. M.S.W. Thesis, California State University, Long Beach, MAI Vol. 33:01, p. 98, 91 pages.

Abstract by author: The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between ageism and homophobia among graduate level social workers in the United States. A three-part questionnaire was mailed to a national, random sample of members of the National Association of Social Workers (N = 500). Two hundred eight (41.6%) of these social workers returned completed surveys. Two standardized scales were used to measure social workers' attitudes towards gay, lesbian, and elderly clients: Tuckman and Lorge's Attitudes towards Old People and Herek's Attitudes towards Lesbians and Gays. The study showed that social workers had a positive attitude towards both groups, and that there was a significant positive connection between the two measures of prejudice. The respondents were more likely to possess a favorable attitude if they were female, employed in a public agency, had no children, and were members of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. Implications of the findings for practice are discussed.

Publication No.  1357644

Sarosy SG Jr (1996). Pink and gray: an exploratory study on gay men and aging. M.S.W. Thesis, California State University, Long Beach, MAI Vol. 34:06, p. 2246, 74 pages.

Abstract by author: This study explored how gay men ages 55 and older have adjusted, psychologically and socially, to their sexual orientation and the aging process. Data were obtained from 15 gay men from various socioeconomic, educational, and cultural backgrounds in southern California. The average participant was Caucasian, well-educated, and partially retired, and resided with a significant other. Results indicated that participants had a significant level of social support from friends and peers their own age, and that involvement in the gay community resulted in greater adaptation to the aging process.  Participants who were in a stable relationship showed higher levels of life satisfaction than those who were single. Social workers should be aware of the psychosocial issues facing older gay men in today's society. Social workers can be effective advocates for this special population and can assist them with issues related to their sexual orientation and their adjustment to aging.

Publication No.  1380304

Stullman ME (1985). Paths to lesbian identity formation in later life: an adult developmental study. Ph.D. Thesis, California School Of Professional Psychology - Berkeley/Alameda, DAI Vol. 46:04B, p. 1348, 261 pages.

Abstract by author: Utilizing an adult developmental model derived from the work of Daniel Levinson, the biographies of eight previously married, heterosexual women who had become lesbian identified between the ages of 35-43 were examined. Data from seven developmental periods ranging from childhood through Mid-Life were analyzed to determine the development paths by which individuals become lesbian in later life, a phenomenon not previously investigated.  Almost all the subjects were found to have experienced (1) conventional but ambivalently arranged and conflicted marriages, (2) the lack of an articulated Dream, either relational or individual, in Early Adulthood, and (3) upheaval during their thirties when their prevailing concerns were related to autonomy and identity issues within a continuing relational context. An examination of subject clusters led to the conclusion that there are two paths to lesbian identity formation in later life. One group, identified as the 'social shifters,' were influenced by social factors, notably feminism, and became lesbian identified for ideological or emotional reasons as a means of resolving unmet dependency needs and needs related to autonomy. Some of these concerns were seen to reflect normative developmental issues. The second group, labeled the 'affective shifters,' were not influenced by social factors but, during a period of life stress, became aware of their not necessarily exclusive but greater emotional responsiveness to other women. This study confirms the importance of social learning factors in the development of a lesbian identity in older women and thereby supports recent assertions that lesbian identity formation is a heterogeneous phenomenon, that it is affected by social as well as psychological factors, and that when it occurs later in life it is not attributable to specific antecendents but is the outcome of interacting factors over the course of life. In addition, the findings illuminate the nature of the developmental concerns of women as they approach Mid-Life, and they cast doubt on the applicability of Levinson's model to women's lives. The findings should be applied cautiously to homosexual groups because of the limited size and possibly idiosyncratic nature of the sample.

Publication No.  8512619

Sweeney VE (1995). The social support networks of older lesbians: a creative response. M.A.Thesis, Acadia University, MAI Vol. 34:03, p. 1015, 157 pages, ISBN: 0-612-04628-1.

Abstract by author: This thesis investigates sources of social support for a group of older lesbians who live in Nova Scotia. Using a feminist methodology has allowed the womyn, for and about whom this research is actually undertaken, to be heard in their own voices, sharing experiences which named and defined the research issues. Issues named by these older lesbians are: lesbian community, partnerships, friendships and non-lesbian support. As the patterns took shape a broader analysis suggests older lesbians are forced by heterosexist society, which is largely unaware of their concerns, to create their own support networks. These womyn know what they require to meet their needs and they also know it is not provided by heterosexual hegemonic institutions. The networks these lesbians create are structured not only to meet their needs but also to offer resistance against a society that would otherwise not recognize them or their relationships.

Publication No.  MM04628

Yandell J (1994). Housing preferences of the older gay and lesbian. M.S. Thesis, California State University, Long Beach, MAI Vol. 33:03, p. 786, 61 pages.

Abstract by author: The purpose of this study was to determine housing preferences of gays and lesbians age 45 years or older. Preferences regarding neighbors and neighborhood characteristics were also explored. The sample of 19 men and 21 women residing in Southern California averaged 56 years old, were typically Caucasian, and had a $30,000--/$49,000 annual income. Respondents selected a 'house' as the most desirable form of housing, followed by 'continuing care retirement community,' 'condominium/townhouse,' and 'retirement community.' They preferred (a) neighbors who were both homosexual and heterosexual, of mixed ethnicity, and of ages which included young adults; (b) gay roommates over heterosexual roommates; and (c) housing near entertainment and cultural activities, shopping and restaurants, and a medical facility. Ranked lowest in this category was living near bars and nightclubs, and living near family and relatives. These findings can help social workers to identify the housing and retirement preferences of older gays and lesbians, in order to improve service delivery to them.

Publication No.  1359681

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