Going solo: findings from a survey of women aging without a partner and who do not have children

Trish Hafford-Letchfield, Nicky Lambert, Ellouise Long, Dominique Brady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)


Greater longevity in the UK population has led to the increasing diversity of women experiencing aging in a multitude of ways. Internationally, gender inequalities in aging are still relatively invisible within both government policy and everyday life for particular groups of women. This article explores the concept of women growing older “solo”—by which we mean women who find themselves nonpartnered and aging without children as they move into later life. We report on the findings from a mixed-methods survey of 76 solo women in the UK aged 50 years and over, used to provide a broader overview of the issues and challenges they face as they move into later life. Qualitative data from the survey captured respondents’ perspectives about the links between their relationships status and well-being in later life and highlighted specific cumulative disadvantages emerging for some women as a result of their solo lifestyles. We discuss two key themes that were identified, “solo-loneliness” and “meaningful futures,” in conjunction with the relevant literature and make suggestions for future research within gender and aging studies that could enhance more positive approaches to solo lifestyles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-333
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Women and Aging
Issue number4
Early online date15 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2017


  • aging
  • loneliness
  • older women
  • singleness
  • solo


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