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Public lecture
Age, wellbeing and inequality: Evidence from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Retirement from the workforce in industrialised societies has been seen as a transition into an economically dependent situation coupled with declines in social status and health. This focus on older people as dependent, however, neglects evidence of improvements in mental health in the period around retirement age, suggesting that for some, at least, the transition into a ‘retired’ status is a positive experience. Indeed, there is a growing recognition that Laslett’s description of the ‘Third Age’ as post-work life characterised by opportunity, leisure and self-fulfilment, is a reality for many. This shift in focus from dependent to healthy and wealthy argentic older people, though, neglects both the complexity of retirement trajectories and the marked inequalities between older people. Intergenerational inequality – comparing the situation of older people with younger people – has been the focus of much work, but it is also appropriate to focus on inequalities within the older population.

This paper uses data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing to examine inequalities in later life health and wellbeing. A particular focus will be on identifying the influence of factors that moderate the relationship between wellbeing, health and age. Explanations to be considered for these changes and inequalities in them will be framed around the possibilities that they are a consequence of diverse retirement trajectories carrying differing implications for post-retirement experiences. More broadly, it will be argued that later-life experiences continue to be shaped by social class, but that we need to move beyond simple material and occupational measures to reveal the extent of these class-based inequalities.

This lecture is free and open to the public

Speaker/Host: Professor James Nazroo
Venue: Innovations Lecture Theatre, Innovations Building (124), Eggleston Rd, ANU
Date: Friday, 5 July 2013
Time: 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Enquiries: Trina Merrell on 6125 6182
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