Completed Research

SomnIA: Sleep in Ageing

Sara Arber, Kevin Morgan (Loughborough University), Debra Skene (University of Surrey), Roger Orpwood (Bath), Ingrid Eyers (University of Vechta)
SomnIA was a four year NDA Collaborative Research Project (CRP) which addressed practice and policy relevant issues arising from the nature, impact and management of the sleep-wake balance in later life. It focused on strategically targeted areas of sleep research relevant to understanding and improving autonomy, active ageing, and quality of later life.

The SomnIA interdisciplinary research team comprised partners from six disciplines and four institutions - sociology (Sara Arber/Rebekah Luff/Robert Meadows/Susan Venn, Surrey), psychology (Kevin Morgan, Loughborough), neuroendocrinology (Debra Skene/Benita Middleton, Surrey), engineering (Roger Orpwood, Bath), nursing (Ingrid Eyers, University of Vechta (formerly Surrey) and medicine (David Armstrong, King's College London and University of Surrey), together with consultants in health economics (Heather Gage), medical statistics (Peter Williams) and clinical psychology (Maureen Tomeny).


Clinical Decisions in Older Patients: A US/UK Comparison

Sara Arber, Sue Venn, Ann Adams (Warwick)

A comparative study of doctor's decision-making for older men and women in the UK and US, in association with the New England Research Institute (Boston) and Centre for Primary Health Care Sciences (Warwick). (Funded by National Institute of Health, US funded).


Evaluation of Residential Care Rebuild and Refurbishment Programme

Cynthia Wyld, Sara Arber, Kate Davidson, Pat Duff

A study of the management of change in five residential homes for older people run by Anchor Homes South, encompassing the views of residents, relatives and staff over 12 months. (Funded by Anchor Trust).


Food in later Life: Choosing Foods, Eating Meals, Sustaining Independence and Quality of Life

Sara Arber, Kate Davidson, Helen Marshall, Margaret Lumbers, Monique Raats

A study of how patterns of food and eating differ by age, living circumstances and gender among men and women aged 65 and over, examining specifically the role of informal and formal networks in food procurement and consumption in later life. The project was conducted in 8 countries across Europe (EU funded).


Gender, Employment and Pension Acquisition: Trends and International Comparisons

Jay Ginn

A study of the changing pensions mix of private and state pension coverage of men and women, and the consequences for gender differences in income in later life, distinguished according to parental and marital status as well as ethnicity and occupational class. (ESRC funded).


Midlife Attitudes to Retirement. International Comparison of Changes

Jay Ginn, Sara Arber

This study used two waves of the International Social Survey Programme to examine how the work orientation of midlife men and women changed during the 1990s and how attitudes to paid work change with ageing, comparing across five welfare regime types. (ESRC funded)


Older Men: their Social Worlds and Healthy Lifestyles

Kate Davidson, Sara Arber, Tom Daly, Kim Perren

A study of the social roles of older men who live alone, focusing on friendships, family relationships and involvement in social organisations. Part of the ESRC Growing Older Programme this project used qualitative research and secondary analysis of large-scale datasets. (ESRC funded).


Negotiating Sleep: Gender, Age and Social Relationships Amongst Couples

Sara Arber, Rob Meadows, Jenny Hislop, Sue Venn

This research examined the extent to which sleep is the site of gender inequalities by examining the reality of couple's sleep, how this is negotiated and how this changes over the life course of both partners and the couple relationship. (ESRC funded).


Sleep in Ageing Women

Jenny Hislop, Sara Arber

A study of how patterns of sleep change with age, the kind of sleep problems common among women aged 40 and over, how these problems affect their lives, and what strategies and treatments they use to overcome them. (EU funded).


Older People and their Families: Autonomy and Decision- Making in Later Life

Sara Arber, Tom Daly, Sarah Hampson, Hilary Thomas, and Tushna Vandrevala

This study addressed older people and their families' perspectives and expectation of advance care planning and decision making at the end-of-life. The aim of the project is to identify factors that facilitate or impede good communication on these sensitive issues. Based on the findings, a brochure has been developed and evaluated that will assist older people in communicating with their doctors and their family about advance planning. (Nuffield Foundation).


Clinical Decisions in Older Patients: A US/UK Comparison

Project team
Principal Investigator: Sara Arber 
Senior Research Fellow: Ann Adams , Centre for Primary Health Care Studies,
University of Warwick
Research Secretary: Sue Venn 
Funding
The UK research was part of a larger project led by the New England Research Institutes ( NERI ) in Boston (Principal Investigator: Dr John McKinlay). The project was funded by the US National Institute of Aging, National Institutes of Health, contract number R01 AG16747 for three years, 2000-03.

Aims

The aims of the project were to investigate doctor's decision-making in relation to two common conditions among older people focusing on the influence of:

  • UK versus US primary care doctors
  • four patient characteristics - gender, age (55 vs 75), class and race
  • two doctor characteristics - gender and years since completed medical training

Methods

A factorial experimental design was used. A stratified random sample of 128 doctors in the UK and 128 doctors in the US were shown equivalent, culturally appropriate videos of doctor-patient interactions for each condition, following randomisation of combinations of the four patient characteristics and two doctor characteristics. The doctors were interviewed about their diagnosis, test-ordering, treatment, and referral decisions. Half of the interviews were conducted by Ann Adams in the Midlands and half (64) in Surrey and south-east London by the Surrey team.

A qualitative component involved doctors providing an indepth account of what influenced their decision-making.


Evaluation of Residential Care Rebuild and Refurbishment Programme

Project team
Principal Investigator: Sara Arber
Research Manager: Cynthia Wyld
Research Adviser: Kate Davidson
Research Assistant: Patricia Duff

Funding
This 27-month project (September 2000-December 2002) was funded by Anchor Homes South following their taking over the running of 17 residential homes from Surrey County Council in 1998. The Centre for Research on Ageing and Gender (CRAG) at the University of Surrey undertook the study.

Aims: to evaluate the effects of rebuilding and refurbishment on residents, relatives and staff in five homes taken over by Anchor Homes South .

Methods

Three phases of semi-structured interviews with residents, relatives and staff.

  • Phase 1 - prior to moving to a temporary establishment
  • Phase 2 - during the time spent at the temporary home
  • Phase 3 - after returning to the newly built/refurbished home.

Food in Later Life: Choosing Foods, Eating Meals, Sustaining Independence and Quality of Life

Project Team
Award Holder : Sara Arber
Research Fellow: Kate Davidson
Research Fellow: Helen Marshall

Funding
This project was funded by the European Union, (Contract No: QLK1-CT-2002-02447, 36 months January 2002 - December 2005). CRAG was responsible for the data collection of two work packages (WP5 and WP6) in this project, leading on the design of WP6.

Aims
The aims of work packages 5 and 6 were:

  • To determine the role of formal (eg food related, social or health) services in food procurement and consumption
  • To determine the role of informal (eg family, friends, neighbours) services in food procurement and consumption
  • To investigate the nature of older people's meal consumption including: time of day, composition of meal, and types of foods consumed
  • Investigate the social aspects relating to older people's meals including the importance of other people and the roles they play
  • To compare the above aims across cultures, age groups, living circumstances and gender

Methods
Work packages 5 and 6 comprised a multi-method approach, including qualitative interviews with 80 older people analysed with the assistance of the CAQDAS package MAXqda; and food consumption and food shopping diaries analysed using SPSS. The sample includes 40 men and 40 women, equal numbers aged 65-74 and 75+ and equal numbers living alone and with partners. Data collection was carried out in 8 European countries (n=640).


Gender, Employment and Pension Acquisition: Trends and International Comparisons

Project Director
Jay Ginn

Funding
This ESRC project (Award No. R000271002) was funded from October 1999 to September 2002.

Aims
To consolidate and extend sociological understanding of the gendered nature of ageing, focusing on the way women's employment interacts with pension systems and how this relationship is changing. Specifically:

  • To improve understanding of the differing and changing implications of ageing, family roles and generation, according to gender and class
  • To contribute to influencing pensions policy
  • To raise awareness of gender issues in pension reforms among pensioners, trade unionists and other user groups

Main objectives

  • To consolidate and extend previous research on the effects of the changing mix of public and private pensions using secondary analysis of national datasets (GHS and BHPS). In particular to examine how women's paid and unpaid work influence their acquisition of pensions, in order to understand how marital and parental status, educational level, occupational class and ethnicity affect employment, earnings and pension scheme membership. The research examined the emerging polarisation in the 1990s of women's employment and earnings patterns across the working life and the consequences for women's pensions in the future.
  • To assess the gender impact of recent and planned pension reforms in a range of liberal democracies, through an international conference and edited book, Women, Work and Pensions: International issues and prospects (Open University Press, 2001). These would promote awareness of the gender issues to be considered in planning pension reform.
  • To organise a new Research Network on Ageing in Europe, with a stream at the European Sociological Association 2001 conferences.
  • To write a sole-authored book, Gender, Pensions and the Life Course (Policy Press, 2003) , focusing on UK data and the effects of recent pension changes. This contributed to understanding of social policy in this area and provided an accessible and comprehensive source of information on gender and pensions for user groups, policy makers and the academic community.

Midlife Attitudes to Retirement. International Comparison of Changes

Project team
Principal Investigator: Sara Arber
Senior Research Fellow: Jay Ginn

Funding
This project was funded by the ESRC (Grant no. 108404) from August 1 2004 November 30 2004

Aims

  • To examine changes in the attitudes of midlife men and women to employment and retirement, comparing cohorts aged 50-69 in 1989 and 1997
  • To compare these changes across five distinct types of welfare regime in Europe
  • To analyse how attitudes of midlife men and women to retirement change with advancing age
  • To compare these changes across the five welfare regimes

Methods
Data from two waves of the International Social Survey Programme(ISSP) 1989 and 1997, was used to examine the work orientation of men and women aged 50-69. In these years, the ISSP provides information on attitudes to work and alternative uses of time, as well as sociodemographic information. Individuals were interviewed and asked to complete a self-completion questionnaire on how they would prefer to rebalance their time use between paid work, housework, family, friends and leisure. Those employed more than 10 hours per week were asked about the quality of their job, in terms of rewards and adverse conditions. First, analyses were used to estimate changes across the eight year gap in the two waves of ISSP, comparing five countries from different welfare regime types – Norway (social-democratic), Britain (liberal), West Germany (conservative-corporatist), Hungary (transitional) and Italy ( Mediterranean ). Second, quasi-cohorts were constructed to simulate ageing across eight years, and attitude changes with ageing were analysed, comparing the five countries


Negotiating Sleep: Gender, Age and Social Relationships Amongst Couples

Website: Sociology of Sleep

Project Team
Principal Investigator: Sara Arber
Project Manager: Jenny Hislop
Research Fellow: Robert Meadows
Research Administrator: Sue Venn

Funding
This project was funded by the ESRC (Award No. RES-000-23-0268) for 30 months from October 2003-April 2006.

Aims
To investigate the inter-relationship between the sleep patterns of partners: (a) To identify any differences between partners' sleep behaviour, (b) To see how each partner's sleep affects the other, (c) To ascertain any differences in perceptions of 'sleep needs' and 'sleep rights', both their own and their partner's. (d) To identify how each partner justifies (or not) their sleep reality.

  • To examine how findings under the above aim are associated with changes across the life course according to chronological age and to 'life events' such as marriage, the ages of children and changing work demands.
  • To understand and explain any gender differences, in terms of modes of embodiment and the nature of roles of each partner in the public and private spheres.
  • To integrate physiological knowledge about sleep (i.e. actigraphy measurement) with sociological understanding and to examine the physiological impact each partner is having on the other during sleep.

Methods

A multi-method cross-disciplinary approach, including qualitative interviews with 40 couples, one week audio sleep diaries, one week actigraphy, a follow-up qualitative interview with each partner in the couple, and buccal swabs for PER3 analysis.

Further Information: Robert Meadows


Older Men: their Social Worlds and Healthy Lifestyles

Project team
Award Holder: Sara Arber
Principal Investigator: Kate Davidson
Research Fellow: Kim Perren
Research Assistant: Tom Daly

Funding
This project was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), award number: L480 25 4033 for 34 months from October 1999 to March 2003.

Aims

To investigate the social networks and health behaviours of men over the age of 65, comparing marital status: married/remarried/cohabiting; widowed; divorced/separated and never married. A particular interest of the project was on the lives of older men who live alone, a population which is projected to increase over the next two decades.

Methods
A multi-method approach including:

  • observational visits (N=25) to social organisations which have older people in their membership
  • semi-structured interviews (N=85) with men over the age of 65: 30 married/remarried/cohabiting; 33 widowed; 10 divorced and 12 never married.
  • secondary analysis of three national datasets: the General Household Survey (GHS); the Health Survey for England and the British Household Panel Survey

Sleep in Ageing Women
Website : http://www.helsinki.fi/science/womensleep

Project Team
Principal Investigator: Sara Arber
Research Fellow: Jenny Hislop

Funding
Funded by the Commission of the European Communities (contract number QLK6-CT-2000-00499) for three years (2001-2004), this project was part of a cross-national study ( Finland, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and the UK) designed to integrate sociological data with biomedical studies in the study of women's sleep. CRAG provided the sociological input for the study.

Aims

To investigate:

  • the effect of ageing on sleep patterns for women aged 40 and over,
  • the nature of sleep problems experienced by these women,
  • the impact of these problems on women's daily lives, and
  • the strategies and treatments women use to overcome sleep problems.

Methods
A multi-method approach, including 15 focus groups (N=124), in-depth interviews (N=35), audio sleep diaries (N=35), and a national postal questionnaire (N=1500).


Older People and their Families: Autonomy and Decision-Making in Later Life

Project team
Principal Investigator: Sarah Hampson (Psychology Department)
Co-Investigators: Sara Arber (CRAG) and Hilary Thomas (Royal Surrey County Hospital )
Research Fellow: Tushna Vandrevala (Psychology)
Research Assistant: Tom Daly (CRAG)

Funding
This project was funded by the Nuffield Foundation (grant number AGE/00061/G) for 33 months from September 2002 to May 2005.

Aims

  • To understand the views of older people about the use of life prolonging medical technologies used to increase life span at the final stages of life, focusing on the use of CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation), ventilation, artificial (tube) feeding and Do-not-attempt to resuscitate (DNAR) orders.
  • To understand the attitudes of the confidants of older people about use of life prolonging medical technologies for their older relative and for themselves.
  • To examine what facilitates communication between an older person and their significant family member (confidant) about whether they would wish to have life prolonging medical technologies during the final stages of life, and decisions about drawing up a Living Will or Advance Directive.
  • To design and evaluate a leaflet for older people to provide advice on communicating their wishes about whether to have life prolonging medical technologies.

Methods

  • 10 focus groups with older people from different types of organisational settings to discuss their views of medical care during the final stages of life
  • Semi-structured (tape-recorded) Interview in the home with 69 people aged 65+, selected from the age-sex registers of 4 General Practitioners in 3 economically diverse areas in SE England . Letters sent to prospective participants (age 65-69, 70-74, 75-79 and 80+, and equal numbers of men and women).
  • Separate interview with 53 confidants. Confidants were nominated by the older person as the person that they were closest to.
  • Design of leaflet for older people about Care and Decision Making at the End of Life. Leaflet evaluated by brief interviews with older people and health care practitioners.

Older LGBT People - Minding the Knowledge Gaps (ESRC funded Seminar Series)

This series explored gaps in current knowledge about the lives of older lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans* (LGBT) people. It ran from April 2013 to Jan 2015. Led by CRAG co-director Dr Andrew King along with CRAG visiting research fellow Dr Sue Westwood, Dr Kathy Almack of the University of Nottingham and Dr Yiu Tung Suen of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the series comprised six seminars and a final conference. More details can be found here 


 

 

 

 

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