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Roads less taken: developing a nuanced view of older adults without children

Dykstra, P.A. and Hagestad, G.O. (2007) Roads less taken: developing a nuanced view of older adults without children. Journal of Family Issues, 28, 1275-1310. ISSN 0192-513X.

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Abstract

This article provides the rationale for doing research on childlessness and parenthood in late life. Childless older adults have been rendered invisible in the social scientific literature. A central goal of this issue is to make them visible and to expose unstated assumptions about normal adult life. Parenthood emerges as a key organizer of the life course and a major factor in social integration.Because the childless tend to be conceptualized as “the other,” focusing on them teaches lessons about the dangers of dichotomous thinking, that is, overlooking diversity and assuming deficiency. Studying older adults without children reveals the necessity of considering life pathways over time and of putting lives in a historical context. Keywords: childlessness; diversity; gender; late life; marital history; parenthood; pathways

Item Type:Article
Institutes:Ned. Interdisc. Demografisch Instituut (NIDI)
ID Code:3951
Deposited On:28 Feb 2008 01:00
Last Modified:24 Apr 2012 16:49

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