No country for old men? The role of a 'Gentlemen's Club' in promoting social engagement and psychological well-being in residential care.

Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK.
Aging and Mental Health (Impact Factor: 1.68). 05/2011; 15(4):456-66. DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2010.536137
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Social isolation is a common problem in older people who move into care that has negative consequences for well-being. This is of particular concern for men, who are marginalised in long-term care settings as a result of their reduced numbers and greater difficulty in accessing effective social support, relative to women. However, researchers in the social identity tradition argue that developing social group memberships can counteract the effects of isolation. We test this account in this study by examining whether increased socialisation with others of the same gender enhances social identification, well-being (e.g. life satisfaction, mood), and cognitive ability.
Care home residents were invited to join gender-based groups (i.e. Ladies and Gentlemen's Clubs). Nine groups were examined (five male groups, four female groups) comprising 26 participants (12 male, 14 female), who took part in fortnightly social activities. Social identification, personal identity strength, cognitive ability and well-being were measured at the commencement of the intervention and 12 weeks later.
A clear gender effect was found. For women, there was evidence of maintained well-being and identification over time. For men, there was a significant reduction in depression and anxiety, and an increased sense of social identification with others.
While decreasing well-being tends to be the norm in long-term residential care, building new social group memberships in the form of gender clubs can counteract this decline, particularly among men.

1 Bookmark
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Social identity research was pioneered as a distinctive theoretical approach to the analysis of intergroup relations but over the last two decades it has increasingly been used to shed light on applied issues. One early application of insights from social identity and self-categorization theories was to the organizational domain (with a particular focus on leadership), but more recently there has been a surge of interest in applications to the realm of health and clinical topics. This article charts the development of this Applied Social Identity Approach, and abstracts five core lessons from the research that has taken this forward. (1) Groups and social identities matter because they have a critical role to play in organizational and health outcomes. (2) Self-categorizations matter because it is people's self-understandings in a given context that shape their psychology and behaviour. (3) The power of groups is unlocked by working with social identities not across or against them. (4) Social identities need to be made to matter in deed not just in word. (5) Psychological intervention is always political because it always involves some form of social identity management. Programmes that seek to incorporate these principles are reviewed and important challenges and opportunities for the future are identified.
    British Journal of Social Psychology 03/2014; 53(1). · 1.76 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objectives: Longitudinal research on loneliness in old age has rarely considered loneliness separately for men and women, despite gender differences in life experiences. The objective of this study was to examine the extent to which older women and men (70+) report feelings of loneliness with a focus on: (a) changes in reported loneliness as people age, and (b) which factors predict loneliness. Method: Data from the 2004 and 2011 waves of SWEOLD, a longitudinal national survey, was used (n = 587). The prediction of loneliness in 2011 by variables measured in 2004 and 2004-2011 variable change scores was examined in three logistic regression models: total sample, women and men. Variables in the models included: gender, age, education, mobility problems, depression, widowhood and social contacts. Results: Older people moved into and out of frequent loneliness over time, although there was a general increase in loneliness with age. Loneliness at baseline, depression increment and recent widowhood were significant predictors of loneliness in all three multivariable models. Widowhood, depression, mobility problems and mobility reduction predicted loneliness uniquely in the model for women; while low level of social contacts and social contact reduction predicted loneliness uniquely in the model for men. Conclusion: This study challenges the notion that feelings of loneliness in old age are stable. It also identifies important gender differences in prevalence and predictors of loneliness. Knowledge about such differences is crucial for the development of effective policy and interventions to combat loneliness in later life.
    Aging and Mental Health 08/2014; · 1.68 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Considerable evidence now exists that people can draw on social groups in order to maintain and enhance health and well-being. We review this evidence and suggest that social identity theorizing, and its development in the social identity approach to health and well-being, can help us to understand the way that groups, and the identities that underpin them, can promote a social cure. Specifically, we propose that social groups are important psychological resources that have the capacity to protect health and well-being, but that they are only utilized effectively when individuals perceive they share identity with another individual or group. However, as powerful as shared identities may be, their consequences for health are largely ignored in policy and practice. In this review, we offer a novel direction for policy, identifying ways in which building and consolidating group identification can help to capitalize effectively on the potential of group membership for health. Using this as a basis to increase awareness, we go further to offer practical interventions aimed at assessing identity resources as substantial and concrete assets, which can be cultivated and harnessed in order to realize their health-enhancing potential.
    Social Issues and Policy Review 01/2014; 8(102):128.

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 15, 2014