Self-care activities of low-income women in midlife

by Gregory, Patricia

Abstract (Summary)
In Canada women bom during the "baby boom" yeatç fiom the late 1940s to the rnid 1960s make up the largest group of women. Many of these women are now entering midlife. Little is hown about the self-care activities that women cany out to maintain functioning and developrnent associated with midlife. Findings from the few studies that have been conducted, indicate that women think of midlife as a developmental stage, representing a time of change and transition, a time when women are attempting to corne to terms with midlife and aging. The studies have included predominantly white, educated, employed and affluent women, thereby limiting knowledge about the experience of midlife, and self-care activities of low-income women The purpose of this study was to uncover the self-care activities that low-income wornen carry out to maintain functioning and for development at midlife in their particular environmental contexts. Knowledge of low-income women's self-care activities in midlife is critical for the development of health promotion strategies that are acceptable and relevant to lowincome women in the context of their daily lives. A qualitative ethnographie approacli inforrned by feminist principles was used to uncover the self-care activities of lowincome women in midlife. The study was guided by Orem's Mode1 of Self-Care and Bronfenbrenner's Ecology of Human Development Framework. Data were collected through the use of in-depth semi-structured interviews. Analysis was conducted using content analysis methods. The analysis revealed five major categories: (1) poverty: a consequence of circumstance rather than a way of life; (2) working towards a better future; (3) self-care: survival strategies; (4) midlife, a stage? Not really, just the continuity of life; and (5) it's connections 1 need. The self-care activities were found to be deeply embedded within the context of their daily lives. Sel f-care activities 4 Women did not think of midlife as a developmental stage, nor were they coming to ternis with rnidlife and aging. Women were focused on issues related to the continuity of life. Focused on work, raising their children and maintaining the family as a foundation, the wornen used emotion focused activities to carry on in the face of adversity. The findings of this study were most consistent with the findings of studies on low incorne women, rather than the studies of women in midlife. Recommendations for nursing practice, nursing education, nursing research and policy were made. Self-care activities 5
Bibliographical Information:



School Location:

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:01/01/1999

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.