Title: Factors affecting poverty trajectories in old age : first results from a Swiss five-year follow-up study
Authors : Gabriel, Rainer
Kubat, Sonja
Adili, Kushtrim
Oris, Michel
Conference details: The Dynamics of Inequality Across the Life-course (DIAL), Turku, 7 June 2019
Issue Date: 2019
License (according to publishing contract) : Not specified
Type of review: Peer review (abstract)
Language : English
Subjects : Aging; Poverty; Stratification
Subject (DDC) : 361: Social work and welfare
Abstract: Our contribution focuses on studying poverty-trajectories in old age from an interdisciplinary life course perspective. We will assess what (1) role psychological resources, (2) early and late-life socioeconomic position (SEP) and (3) people’s life course play on poverty dynamics in old age. Particular interest will be given to people’s life course after the age of retirement : Whether they have moved geographically, whether they have experienced any major health issues or whether they have taken up, or ceased an economic activity. In addition, we are also interested in how these elements are related back to SEP and psychological resources in the first place. The theoretical framing of our work is given by the ongoing debate in poverty research whether the “traditional” dynamics of social stratification still apply. The underlying hypothesis for this question being that, in highly de-standardized and individualized societies, it is no longer people’s socioeconomic position but above all the experience of critical life events - such as having experienced a divorce, the loss of a partner or having had children very early in the life course – that is the root cause of poverty. The relevance of this hypothesis for pensioners in Switzerland has been tested before but only using cross-sectional data. It revealed that, among people in Switzerland born between 1900 and 1945, the main poverty dynamics are (still) related to social stratification. However, this previous study had the limitations of not being able to characterize poverty in terms of trajectories: whether it is structural or whether it fluctuates like in the professionally active population. Moreover, it did not look at the psychological factors such as personality traits or mental health; and neither did it consider the interlinkage between such psychological factors, SEP and the occurrence of life events. Using data from the gerontological survey “Vivre-Leben-Vivere” (VLV) which was conducted in 2011 as well as the five-year follow up in 2016, we will extend our previous research and we will assess how participant’s financial situation – operationalized in a binary poor vs. non-poor logic – has evolved between the two time-points. Mainly using logistic regression analysis and moderation analyses, we will test how socioeconomic position in early and late adulthood, psychological resources and the experience of life events or specific life trajectories are associated with poverty-trajectories in old age. Our results will contribute to the discussion regarding the mechanisms of old-age poverty and hopefully will provide insight that is relevant beyond the specific socio-political setting of Switzerland.
Departement: Social Work
Organisational Unit: Institute of Diversity and Social Integration (IVGT)
Publication type: Conference other
URI: https://digitalcollection.zhaw.ch/handle/11475/17263
Published as part of the ZHAW project : Having Little in a Land of Plenty: Economic Vulnerability in Old Age in Switzerland (EVOAS)
Appears in Collections:Publikationen Soziale Arbeit

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