Date of Award

Fall 12-1-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Gerontology Institute

First Advisor

Candace L. Kemp

Second Advisor

Mary M. Ball

Third Advisor

Elisabeth Burgess

Abstract

Women outnumber men in assisted living (AL). This gender imbalance promotes the feminization of AL settings and affects men’s social experiences, particularly their co-resident relationships. AL research connects peer relationships to resident well-being and suggests gender that influences co-resident interactions. Yet, few studies have specifically examined men’s social experiences in AL. This analysis aimed to: (1) learn how men experience co-resident relationships in AL; and (2) identify the factors shaping these peer relationships. The analysis utilized qualitative data collected from two AL settings. Data collection involved participant observation and informal and formal in-depth interviews. Analysis was informed by principles of Grounded Theory Method and shows high variability in men’s co-resident connections. A range of individual- and facility-level factors promoted or constrained relationship development. Gender remains pivotal in structuring men’s social engagements. Individual- and facility-level factors often intersected with gender and influenced men’s social lives. Ultimately, co-resident relationships are consequential for men in AL.

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