AuthorBarnard, Amy G.
Committee ChairBadger, Terry
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractDepression is an affective mood disorder that has reciprocal relationships with social interaction, intimacy, self-esteem, and overall quality of life. Identification and treatment of depression is dependent upon an understanding of the phenomenon as individuals experience it. The experience of depression is effected by social and personal factors. Research had been conducted on the experience of depression in the older female population but the effects of lesbianism have never been considered. This study developed a theory of the experience of depression in older lesbians using grounded theory methodology. Four self-identified lesbians over the age of 58 participated in this research. The theory, A LIFE APART, emerged from the data analysis. Older lesbians live a marginalized life and marginality effects their experiences of depression. Findings indicate there are four stages in lesbian sexual development. Depression was experienced in each stage. The sources of depressive feelings are based in both internal and external negative attitudes toward lesbianism. Depression is rooted in feelings of fear and rejection and results in emotional and physical distancing. Distancing and negative attitudes effect social support systems. The implications of the relationship between marginality and depression are significant for practitioners working with older lesbians attempting to provide culturally congruent health care. The findings are significant and warrant further research in this area.
Degree ProgramGraduate College