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Urine incontinence in women aged sixty to sixty-five: negotiating meaning and responsibility
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies. Linköping University, NISAL - National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later Life. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, NISAL - National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later Life. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5295-2482
2015 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, ISSN 0283-9318, E-ISSN 1471-6712, Vol. 29, no 4, 625-632 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


Urine incontinence (UI) has been the focus of a considerable number of research projects; yet, there is no evidence that the research has had an impact on the prevalence of UI. Despite great impact on daily living, women seem to be reluctant to seek help from professionals or talk about the problem. Apart from this, scholars have noted that healthcare practitioners rarely ask older women about this health aspect and seem to minimise the problem when confronted with it.


The purpose of the study was to explore how meaning of UI was discursively constructed and negotiated by women bothered with long-term UI in the context of research interviews.


Seven women aged 60–65 living in the Faroe Islands were interviewed to elaborate on daily living with long-term UI. The interview texts were analysed by means of discourse analysis.


Three main themes emerged from the interviews. All the women related the disorder to their age and positioned themselves within the category ‘old women’ for whom UI was considered a normal condition. At the same time, they opposed to the idea that the condition was inevitable and accused their general practitioners of negligence by failing to take their complaints seriously. They felt ashamed of being incontinent and seemed to subject themselves to moral and aesthetic views about people who were not able to control their bladder function.


All the women used different cultural discourses to make meaning of UI and continuously negotiated these meanings. Avoiding public exposure of their leaking problem restricted their daily living, and the embarrassment of not being able to control their bladder function seemed to overrule any wish of actively dealing with their present condition.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley , 2015. Vol. 29, no 4, 625-632 p.
Keyword [en]
urine incontinence, women, discourse analysis, ageing, interpretive repertoires
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-113750DOI: 10.1111/scs.12190ISI: 000368345900003OAI: diva2:784515

Funding agencies: Faroese Research Council

Available from: 2015-01-29 Created: 2015-01-29 Last updated: 2016-02-15Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. On the making of age: A constructionist study on ageing and later life in the Faroe Islands
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On the making of age: A constructionist study on ageing and later life in the Faroe Islands
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Om att göra ålder : En konstruktionistisk studie om äldre och åldrande på Färöarna
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to explore how older people living in the Faroe Islands make sense of ageing, how political intentions and strategies resonate with the lived reality of ageing and how theories on ageing compare with this reality.

This thesis builds on two data sets. The first set is derived from interviews with women aged 60 to 65 years old who suffer from long-term urine incontinence, a disorder commonly associated with old age. The second set is derived from group and individual interviews with community-dwelling men and women aged 68 to 91 years old.

The results are presented in four papers, each of which addresses aspects of ageing. Health, which appeared to be a strong determinant for how old age was constructed and negotiated, was one aspect considered. The meaning of home or one’s affiliation to a place of living was another important aspect studied. The results of that study indicated the necessity of understanding home as a multifaceted notion that goes beyond a house of residence. In particular, for participants living in small island villages, the notion of home was found to embrace a whole community or island rather than a house of residence, which should promote new thinking about services in remote regions.

The results compare with gerontological theories on ageing. However, the findings demonstrate the importance of acknowledging that the concepts of ageing and old age do not carry any predefined meanings but should be understood as contingent on social, cultural, historical and  geographical conditions.

Abstract [sv]

Syftet med denna avhandling är att undersöka hur äldre människor som lever på Färöarna skapar mening av åldrande, hur politiska intentioner och strategier överensstämmer med den levda verkligheten i åldrandet och hur teorier om åldrandet kan fånga in denna verklighet.

Avhandlingen utgår från två datamängder. Den första datamängden härrör från intervjuer med kvinnor i åldrarna 60 till 65 år som lider av långvarig urininkontinens, en sjukdom ofta förknippad med hög ålder. Den andra datamängden kommer från gruppintervjuer och enskilda intervjuer med hemmaboende män och kvinnor i åldrarna 68 till 91 år.

Resultaten presenteras i fyra artiklar, som var och en behandlar aspekter av åldrande. Hälsa, som visade sig vara en viktig dimension för hur hög ålder konstruerades och förhandlades, var en aspekt att beakta. Betydelsen av hemmet eller en tillhörighet till en plats att leva på, var en annan viktig aspekt. Resultaten från denna studie indikerade att det är nödvändigt att förstå hem som ett mångfasetterat begrepp som går utöver det hus i vilket någon är bosatt. I synnerhet för deltagare som bor i mindre byar belägna på öar, har begreppet hem ofta kommit att omfatta hela byn eller ön snarare än ett enskilt hus. Detta bör ge motiv till ett nytänkande när det gäller samhällets tjänster i avlägset belägna områden.

Resultaten kan jämföras med gerontologiska teorier om åldrandet. Avhandlingens resultat visar dock att det är viktigt att beakta att begreppen åldrande och hög ålder inte bär några fördefinierade innebörder men bör förstås som beroende av sociala, kulturella, historiska och geografiska förhållanden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. 66 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 652
meaning of ageing, older people, constructionism, Faroe Islands, åldrandets innebörd, konstruktionism, äldre människor, Färöarna
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-120905 (URN)978-91-7685-982-7 (print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-09-04, K2, Kåkenhus, Campus Norrköping, Norrköping, 09:00 (English)
Available from: 2015-08-28 Created: 2015-08-28 Last updated: 2015-08-28Bibliographically approved

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Department of Social and Welfare StudiesNISAL - National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later LifeFaculty of Arts and SciencesNISAL - National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later Life
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