Singlehood during later life: Theoretical considerations for health and social relationships

Ashley E. Ermer, Jaclyn Elisa Keenoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Older adults are a growing segment of the population. The number of single older adults is increasing, making older adulthood a salient developmental period to examine singlehood. In this article, we focus on older adults' singlehood experiences based on marital status and delve into theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches. Specifically, we focus on theories related to the life course and social constructionist perspectives. We include the cumulative advantage/disadvantage model, convalescence model, marital biographies, and social convoy model under life course perspectives and the gender as relational approach, ambiguous loss, and marriage as a greedy institution under social constructionist perspectives. To conclude, we examine how to integrate these theories and methodological considerations to better understand singlehood during later life. The integration of theory and methodologies can help guide research, which, in turn, allows for a more complete understanding of singlehood, which can bolster the quality of life for single older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-613
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Family Theory and Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • divorce
  • family and aging
  • later life
  • marriage
  • singlehood
  • transitions in families
  • widowhood


Dive into the research topics of 'Singlehood during later life: Theoretical considerations for health and social relationships'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this