Aging and Life Experiences of Low-income, Middle-aged African-American and Caucasian Women

Evelyn L. Barbee, Janet A. Bauer


The increased longevity of the population has been accompanied by increased research focus on the problems of adult aging. However, although interest in the aged has reached the status of a specialty area in nursing, the same can not be said for their concern with the middle-aged, more specifically middle-aged women. As Stevenson (1983) points out, the lack of nursing research devoted to adult development compromises the ability of the nursing profession to explain how the adult reacts under conditions of health, illness and crisis.
Not only is there a lack of nursing research on adult development, there is a lack of research on low-income, middle-aged women. In addition to the need to explore the development of low-income women, an equal exigency is to examine the variables of race and social class in the adult development of low-income women. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the nursing literature on the adult development of middle-aged women through an exploration of the influence of life experience on the perceptions of aging in a group of low-income African-American and Caucasian women.

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