Malgorzata Mikucka
Old-age trajectories of life satisfaction. Do singlehood and childlessness hurt more when people get older?

Swiss Journal of Sociology, 2020: 46, Heft 3, S. 397-424
ISSN: 0379-3664 (print), 2297-8348 (online)

This paper analyses trajectories of life satisfaction among elderly people in various family situations and tests whether the disadvantage related to being single or childless increases (as predicted by cumulative (dis)advantage hypothesis) or reduces (consistently with age-as-leveler hypothesis) when people get older. The results show that the disadvantage of never married mothers grows with age, whereas the disadvantage of divorced people reduces with age. The study suggests that, in general, the increasing probability of ageing without close kin does not put at risk life satisfaction of elderly people.