Predictors of life outlook of older single women


  • Beverly Hoeffer D.NSc.

    Corresponding author
    • Associate Professor, Oregon Health Sciences University, School of Nursing, 3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, OR, 97201
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    • This study was supported by a Geriatric Mental Health Academic Award from the National Institute of Mental Health. The author wishes to acknowledge Dr. Richard Campbell, Department of Sociology, Duke University, for his assistance with access to the data; Drs. Barbara Stewart and Marie Beaudet, Office of Research Development and Utilization, School of Nursing, Oregon Health Sciences University, for their assistance with data processing and analysis


The purpose of this study was to examine whether personal and social factors (a) differentiate between widowed, divorced or separated, and never married older women, and (b) predict the life outlook of older single women. A secondary analysis of data from a subsample of the older single women (n = 816) in the 1975 National Survey of the Aged was undertaken. Significant differences between groups were found: never married women were better educated, healthier, less lonely, and had a more positive life outlook than widows. The model predicted 29% of the variance in life outlook. Health and loneliness had the strongest effects on life outlook when predictors were compared.