UNMARRIED women and those who never have children struggle to find their place in society, new research from an Edge Hill University academic reveals.
Interviews with women over 50 who have never married and/or never had children, found they often faced a battle for status and identity, compared with married women and mothers.
Edge Hill psychologist and research assistant Sergio A. Silverio found women who hadn’t followed the “normal” life course often suffered from loneliness and relied more heavily on long-standing friendships with women in the same situation rather than close family.
Sergio interviewed 12 women aged between 50 and 78, six of whom had children, who had followed a “non-normative life course” (had not married and/or had children).
He found that as these women weren’t acting as carers for grandchildren and partners like many of their peers they often felt marginalised and lonely despite otherwise leading fulfilled lives.
Sergio, who works in Edge Hill’s evidence-based practice research centre in the faculty of health and social care, presented his findings on July 13 at the British Psychological Society’s 30th Psychology of Women Conference.