Marital Status and Family Support for the Oldest-Old in Great Britain

  • Emily Grundy
  • Michael Murphy
Part of the International Studies in Population book series (ISIP, volume 4)


In many developed countries those aged 80 years and over constitute the fastest growing section of the population. Thewell-being and support of this group is therefore of increasing significance and the availability of family support for the oldest-old a matter of keen concern to policy makers. Studies of the social networks of older people, including the oldest-old, have shown that friendships are very important for well-being and morale (and so for health) and that those lacking close kin develop stronger relationships with more distant relatives and with friends (Wenger 1984, 1996). Nevertheless, friends play only a minor role in the provision of personal and domestic care to older people in need of assistance. In Britain, other Northern European countries and North America most of this care is provided by close relatives and to a lesser extent by professional care workers (Arber and Ginn 1990; Sundström 1994; Havens 1997).


Life Satisfaction Marital Status Family Support Private Household Household Type 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Arber, S., and Ginn, J. (1990) “The meaning of informal care: Gender and the contribution of older people”, Ageing and Society, 12:429–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bassuk, S. S., Glass, T. A., and Berkman, L. F. (1999) “Social disengagement and incident cognitive decline in community-dwelling elderly persons”, Annals of Internal Medicine, 131(3):165–173.Google Scholar
  3. Blaxter, M. (1990) Health and Lifestyles. London: Tavistock/Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Bowling, A. (1994) “Social networks and social support among older people and implications for emotional well-being and psychiatric morbidity”, International Review of Psychiatry, 6:41–58.Google Scholar
  5. Bowling, A., Farquhar, M., and Grundy, E. (1995) “Changes in network composition among the very old living in Inner London”, Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 10:331–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bowling, A., Farquhar, M., Grundy, E., and Formby, S. (1993) “Changes in life satisfaction over a two and a half year period among very elderly people living in London”, Social Science and Medicine, 36:641–655.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bowling, A., and Grundy, E. (1998) “The association between social networks and mortality in later life”, Reviews in Clinical Gerontology, 8:353–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cafferata, G. L. (1987) “Marital status, living arrangements, and the use of health services by elderly persons”, Journal of Gerontology, 42:613–8.Google Scholar
  9. Carriere, Y., and Pelletier, L. (1995) “Factors underlying the institutionalization of elderly persons in Canada”, The Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 50B:S164–S172.Google Scholar
  10. Cheung, Y. B. (2000). “Marital status and mortality in British women: A longitudinal study”, International Journal of Epidemiology, 29:93–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Colhoun, H., and Prescott-Clarke, P. (1996). Health Survey for England 1994, Vol. 1, Findings. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  12. Crimmins, E. N., and Ingegneri, D. G. (1990) “Interaction and living arrangements of older parents and their children”, Research on Aging, 12:3–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dolinsky, A. L., and Rosenwaike, I. (1988) “The role of demographic factors in the institutionalization of the elderly”, Research on Aging, 10(2):235–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fabrigoule, C., Letenneur, L., Dartigues, J. F., Zarrouk, M., Commenges, D., and Barberger-Gateau, P. (1995) “Social and leisure activities and risk of dementia: A prospective longitudinal study”, Journal of the American Geriatric Society, 43(5):485–490.Google Scholar
  15. Fratiglioni, L., Wang, H.-X., Ericsson, K., Maytan, M., and Winblad, B. (2000) “Influence of social network on occurrence of dementia: A community-based longitudinal study”, Lancet, 355(9212):1315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Glaser, K., Murphy, M., and Grundy, E. (1997) “Limiting long term illness and household structure among people aged 45 and over, Great Britain 1991”, Ageing and Society, 17:3–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Goldman, N., Korenman, S., and Weinstein, R. (1995) “Marital status and health among the elderly”, Social Science and Medicine, 40(12):1717–1730.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Grundy, E. (1996). “Population review: the population aged 60 and over”, Population Trends, 84:14–20.Google Scholar
  19. Grundy, E. (1999) “Household and family change in mid and later in England and Wales”. In: McRae, S. (ed.), Changing Britain: Families and Households in the 1990s. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 201–228.Google Scholar
  20. Grundy, E., Ahlburg, D., Ali, M., Breeze, E., and Sloggett, A. (1999) Disability in Great Britain: Results from the 1996/97 Disability Survey. Department of Social Security Research Report. London: The Stationery Office. ISBN 0-11-762571.Google Scholar
  21. Grundy, E., Bowling, A., and Farquhar, M. (1996) “Social support, life satisfaction and survival at older ages”. In: Caselli, G., Lopez, A. (eds.), Health and Mortality Among Elderly Populations. Oxford: Clarendon Press, pp. 135–156.Google Scholar
  22. Grundy, E., and Glaser, K. (1997) “Trends in, and transitions to, institutional residence among older people in England and Wales, 1971 to 1991”, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 51:531–540.Google Scholar
  23. Grundy, E., Mayer, D., Young, H., and Sloggett, A. (2004) “Living arrangements and place of death of older people with cancer in England and Wales: A record linkage study”, British Journal of Cancer, 91:907–912.Google Scholar
  24. Grundy, E., Murphy, M., and Shelton, N. (1999) “Looking beyond the household: Intergenerational perspectives on living kin and contacts with kin in Great Britain”, Population Trends, 97:19–27.Google Scholar
  25. Grundy, E., and Shelton, N. (2001). “Contact between adult children and their parents in Great Britain 1986–1999”, Environment and Planning A, 33:685–697.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Grundy, E., and Sloggett, A. (2003) “Health inequalities in the older population: The role of personal capital, social resources and socio economic circumstances”, Social Science and Medicine, 56:935–947.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hahn, B. A. (1993) “Marital status and women’s health: The effect of economic and marital acquisitions”, Journal of Marriage and the Family, 55:495–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Havens, B. (1997) “Long-term care into the 21st century”, Bold, 7:2–4.Google Scholar
  29. Hébert, R., Brayne, C., and Spiegelhalter, D. (1999) “Factors associated with functional decline and improvement in a very elderly community-dwelling population”, American Journal of Epidemiology, 150(5):501–510.Google Scholar
  30. Hu, Y., and Goldman, N. (1990) “Mortality differentials by marital status: An international comparison”, Demography, 27(2):233–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kramarow, E. A. (1995) “The elderly who live alone in the United States: Historical perspectives on household change”, Demography, 32:335–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lye, D. N., Klepinger, D. H., Hyle, P. D., and Nelson, A. (1995) “Childhood living arrangements and adult children’s relations with their parents”, Demography, 32:261–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Magaziner, J., Cadigan, D. A., Hebel, J. R., and Parry, R. E. (1988) “Health and living arrangements among older women: Does living alone increase the risk of illness?”, Journals of Gerontology, 43(5):M127–M133.Google Scholar
  34. Martin, J., Meltzer, H., and Elliot, D. (1988) “OPCS surveys of disability in Great Britain, report 1”. The Prevalence of Disability Among Adults. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  35. Mor, V., Murphy, J., Masterson-Allen, S., and others. (1989) “Risk of functional decline among well elders”. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 42:895–904.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Murphy, M., Glaser, K., and Grundy, E. (1997) “Marital status and long-term illness in Great Britain”, Journal of Marriage and the Family, 59:156–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Murphy, M., and Grundy, E. (2003) “Mothers with living children and children with living mothers: The role of fertility and mortality in the period 1911–2050”, Population Trends, 112:36–45.Google Scholar
  38. Murphy, M., and Wang, D. (1999) “Forecasting British families into the 21st century”. In: McRae, S. (ed.), Changing Britain: Families and Households in the 1990s. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 100– 137.Google Scholar
  39. National Statistics. (2005) “Report: 2003-based marital status and cohabitation projections for England and Wales”, Population Trends, 121:77–84.Google Scholar
  40. Ogawa, N., and Retherford, R. D. (1997) “Shifting the cost of caring for the elderly back to families in Japan: Will it work?”, Population and Development Review, 23:59–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Prioux, F. (1993) “L’infecondite en Europe”. In: Blum, A., Rallu, J.-L. (eds.), European Population Vol. 2, Demographic Dynamics. Paris: John Libbey Eurotext.Google Scholar
  42. Sarwari, A. R., Fredman, L., Langenberg, P., and Magaziner, J. (1998) “Prospective study on the relation between living arrangement and change in functional health status of elderly women”, American Journal of Epidemiology, 147(4):370–378.Google Scholar
  43. Saunders, P. A., Copeland, J. R., Dewey, M. E., Gilmore, C., Larkin, B. A., Phaterpekar, H., and Scott, A. (1993) “The prevalence of dementia, depression and neurosis in later life: The liverpool MRC-ALPHA study”, International Journal of Epidemiology, 22(5):838–847.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Shaw, C. (1999) “1996-based population projections by legal marital status for England and Wales”, Population Trends, 95:23–31.Google Scholar
  45. Shaw, C., and Haskey, J. (1999) “New estimates and projections of the population cohabiting in England and Wales”, Population Trends, 95:7–17.Google Scholar
  46. Speare, A., Avery, R., and Lawton, L. (1991) “Disability, residential mobility, and changes in living arrangements”, Journals of Gerontology, 46:S133–S142.Google Scholar
  47. Sundstrom, G. (1994) “Care by families: An overview of trends”, Caring for Frail Elderly People. Paris: OECD, pp. 15–55.Google Scholar
  48. Umberson, D. (1992) “Gender, marital status and the social control of health behavior”, Social Science and Medicine, 34(8):907–917.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Van Imhoff, E., and Keilman, N. W. (1991) LIPRO 2.0: An Application of a Dynamic Demographic Projection Model to Household Structure in the Netherlands. Amsterdam: Swets & Zeitlinger.Google Scholar
  50. Verbrugge, L. M. (1979) “Marital status and health”, Journal of Marriage and the Family, 41:267–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Waite, L. J. (1995) “Does marriage matter?”, Demography, 32:483–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wall, R. (1989) “The residence patterns of the elderly in Europe in the 1980s”. In: Grebenik, E., Hohn, C., Mackensen, R. (eds.), Later Phases of the Family Cycle: Demographic Aspects. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 222–244.Google Scholar
  53. Weeks, J., Heaphy, B., and Donovan, C. (1999) “Families of choice: Autonomy and mutuality in non-heterosexual relationships”. In: McRae, S. (ed.), Changing Britain: Families and Households in the 1990s. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 297–315.Google Scholar
  54. Wenger, G. C. (1984) The Supportive Network: Coping with Old Age. London: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  55. Wenger, G. C. (1996) “Social networks and gerontology”, Reviews in Clinical Gerontology, 6:285–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wolf, D., and Soldo, B. (1988) “Household composition choices of older unmarried women”, Demography, 25:387–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily Grundy
    • 1
  • Michael Murphy
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Population StudiesLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineUK
  2. 2.Department of Social PolicyLondon School of EconomicsUK

Personalised recommendations