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Keywords:

  • midlife;
  • midlife experience;
  • Thai women;
  • phenomenology;
  • feminist theory;
  • nursing

Background.  Midlife is not a universal notion because the conception of midlife arises from specific historical and social conditions. This can be a challenging time for women; however, the study of Thai women in the middle years has received relatively little attention.

Aim.  This paper reports a study exploring the meaning of midlife to Thai women currently residing in Bangkok.

Method.  The integration of Heideggerian phenomenology and feminist theory guided data collection. Experiential understanding of midlife phenomena was obtained through interviewing 32 Thai women with diverse educational and socioeconomic backgrounds. Each description was analysed to identify themes pertinent to the individual midlife experience. Emergent themes were extracted from the similarities and differences across descriptions to depict the broad points of view of women's midlife experiences.

Findings.  Five collective themes were identified: being stereotyped, transforming, being vulnerable to poor health, adapting, and thinking ahead.

Conclusion.  The findings reflected the fact that these women's midlife experiences were the product of the interrelationship of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors. Awareness of these interrelationships in mind could enrich understanding of midlife experience in women, guide family members and friends in supporting midlife women, including helping to uphold their dignity, and raise the consciousness of health planners and health care professionals for developing effective programmes and interventions to promote wellness for Thai midlife women. The findings could help nurses to build their practice on a significant philosophical foundation and increase their sensitivity with regard to holistic care for midlife women.