Ageing and Health

Published: 29 November 2021| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/mhy4kd949s.1
Nicoda Foster


Studies on the impact of race and racialization on health have focused intently on the cumulative impact of continuous exposure to racism over an extended period. While these studies have contributed significantly to the general understanding of the life experiences and health status of racialized people, few studies have explicitly bridged the experiences of aging with gender and the wide structural barriers and social factors that have shaped the lives of racialized older women. This study aimed to not only bridge the experiences of aging with gender, but also to provide a more detailed explanation regarding the origins of health inequities and highlight areas of intersections that affect health and wellbeing. Descriptive phenomenology was used to describe older Black women’s health and wellbeing, and factors that impact their health across their life course. Criterion sampling was used to recruit study participants (n=27). To be eligible women needed to be 55 years or older, speak English, self-identify as a Black female, and live in the Greater Toronto Area. Data analysis was informed by phenomenology augmented by intersectionality. Themes identified demonstrated that well-being was influenced by gender discrimination, abuse, and racism as well as retirement later in life. Challenges and reports of poor mental health were described during childhood and adulthood, with reports of diabetes and hypertension later in life. Qualitative methods provided details regarding events and exposures that illuminate pathways through which health inequities emerge across the life course.


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McMaster University


Social Sciences