A Life Course View of Older Women’s Health Behaviors
Kretzer, Sara E.
Roberto, Karen A.
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this qualitative inquiry was to explore the current health care practices of older women from a life course perspective. We conducted face-to-face interviews with 11 women, ranging in age from 65 to 94 years of age (M age = 76.18 yrs.), who participated in a larger study of older adults receiving care at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The audio-taped interviews, which lasted between 30 and 120 minutes, took place in the participants’ homes or a location of their choice and were later transcribed verbatim. Based on multiple readings of the transcripts, we used an open coding process to generate a comprehensive list of themes and patterns in the data. As a team, we verified and refined the coding scheme to include five primary coding categories: informal network structure, health history, current health problems and practices, health communications, and future care. From our analyses of the interviews, we identified three interrelated themes that contributed to our understanding of the women’s health behaviors: autonomy and a desire for independence, direct and indirect influences of the past on the present, and an awareness of changes in health care. The findings emphasize the importance of time and context when examining health behavior in later life.